Decades of civil war have brought havoc to the DRC, leaving millions dead or displaced. Today, they face another killer: COVID-19. The deadly combination has caused widespread hunger – nearly 13 million Congolese people are severely food insecure – and WFP is scaling up its operations to save their lives.
DRC: A Fight for Peace
At the end of November, armed groups began targeting civilians and Ebola health centers, forcing aid groups – including WFP – to suspend their operations and withdraw their staff. This Ebola outbreak has become the second biggest on record, killing over 2,200 people since mid-2018. WFP is working to deliver food to people suspected of carrying the disease so they don’t need to leave their homes.Photo: WFP/Deborah Nguyen
August 1, 2019 marks one year since the DRC Government declared an outbreak of the Ebola virus. At the end of July it was declared a public health emergency of international concern. Almost one in three cases is a child. Though the outbreak is primarily a health crisis, it hurts local businesses, prevents children from going to school and pushes people further into hunger. WFP has been on the front lines, delivering food to 440,000 people and meals to 25,000 schoolchildren in Ebola-affected areas.Source: Press Release Photo: WFP/Tara Crossley
5 million Congolese people are internally displaced, unable to return to their homes because of violence, and 7.7 million are severely food insecure.
An infestation of Fall Armyworms reduces DRC's corn crops by 64%, pushing families further into hunger.
Airlifts from France of Plumpy’Sup, a nutrient-rich, ready-to-use supplementary food, allow WFP to treat 9,000 malnourished children.
Lagging donations force WFP to cut its food distribution to 400,000 people by half.Photo: WFP/Jacques David
WFP launches its assistance program following the eruption of brutal conflict and ethnic violence. Rations include cereal, beans, vegetable oil and salt.Photo: WFP/Jacques David
WFP reached 5 million people in the DRC in 2018, but millions more are severely food insecure.
- 13M people are severely food insecure
- 4.6M children don't get enough to eat
- 3.6M Congolese are at risk of dying from hunger
WFP faces difficult and oftentimes dangerous circumstances to deploy smart solutions to feed Congolese families in need. These innovations include specialized helicopters, cash transfers, mVAM and Purchase for Progress.
WFP operates UNHAS, running daily flights and carrying humanitarian workers, cargo, mobile laboratories and protection equipment. One helicopter is equipped with a decontamination chamber and two isolation cells to safely fly Ebola patients.
Cash is an effective and cost-efficient form of food assistance that allows families to buy what they want in local stores. With cash transfers, people can buy a variety of food items, improving their nutritional intake and bolstering local economies.
The mobile Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping unit (mVAM) equips families with mobile phones so they can share information with WFP about their food consumption and coping strategies, helping WFP monitor and target assistance where it’s needed most.
Purchase for Progress (P4P) focuses on teaching small-scale farmers how to run and grow their businesses , from planting and harvesting to storing and selling . Women receive special support so they can sell products like baked goods, livestock or charcoal.
Fighting an Epidemic With Food
WFP identifies people who might have contracted Ebola and limits their movements by giving them a week’s supply of food so they don’t need to leave their homes to buy it. The more people stay in one place, the less likely the virus is to spread. The food WFP delivers – a large sack containing rice, beans, oil, and salt – is an incentive to minimize movement and part of a larger containment strategy.
Because of these bold efforts, WFP feeds more than 5 million people inside DRC every month.
Miracle and his siblings fled violence in the DRC, arriving scared and hungry at the Mugombwa refugee camp. Now they get a hot meal every day.
Twelve-year-old Monique gets the food he needs because of WFP cash transfers to his family.
Jacqueline's youngest son was severely malnourished. Now he's on the road to better health thanks to fortified cereal.
Help us realize a future beyond emergency assistance where our help is no longer needed.
Let’s build people’s knowledge, skills and resilience. Let’s invest in economic opportunities and sustainable food systems so that all Congolese families can get the nutrition they need to reach their full potential.