Children standing in a circle in DRC playing

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Emergency Response

In recent weeks, we have seen an escalation of violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) between DRC’s army and the M23 non-state armed group.

The Situation

The DRC has been racked by conflict for more than 30 years, with six million people killed and six million internally displaced as a result.

Unfortunately, violence has resurged. Since January, dozens of civilians have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced. The M23 group is now making advances towards Goma, the capital of the North Kivu province and home to some two million people, and it is at risk of coming under siege. In the last few weeks, over 130,000 people have fled fighting towards Goma, half of them children.

The situation is critical. Conditions for displaced people are worsening every day as resources run out. Refugee camps are overcrowded, already housing over 800,000 internally displaced people in the region. This is resulting in deteriorating sanitary conditions and the spread of diseases.

Women and children are at increased risk of sexual violence, exploitation and recruitment into armed groups and high numbers of children are being separated from their families. Schools are being repurposed for shelter, depriving children of access to education.

War Child’s Response

  • War Child teams are on the ground, providing vital child protection services and humanitarian assistance to the vast and increasing numbers of vulnerable displaced children and families. Over the next few weeks, we want to scale up our response and our plan includes:
  • Establishing mobile mental health and psychological first aid for children and families affected by the conflict to help them process the trauma they are facing and provide some early stability.
  • Providing family tracing and reunification services and establishing a child protection monitoring system to reduce the number of highly vulnerable children at risk of abduction and trafficking.
  • Setting up temporary learning spaces and providing learning materials to ensure children can continue to access education in a safe environment, integral to their growth and development.
  • Providing cash assistance to vulnerable families in need of immediate support.

War Child in DRC

Reintegrating children who have escaped armed groups into their communities, youth-led advocacy, and sustainable livelihoods are at the core of what we do for children in the DRC.