The Democratic Republic of the Congo faces a variety of challenges, including regular outbreaks of Ebola that we have helped the country successfully quell. Though the Ministry of Health recently declared its 11th outbreak—in Équateur province—over, we are continuing to support the country during the period of heightened surveillance the follows such a pronouncement. We also are in the east, helping with follow-up efforts after the resolution of the recent outbreak there—the country’s tenth, which lasted almost two years and was the second-largest in world history.
The Ebola outbreaks compound an ongoing humanitarian crisis in the country caused by decades of violence that, together with hunger and disease, have claimed more than 5 million lives and left more than 13 million in urgent need of assistance. Though a civil war officially ended years ago, the eastern areas of DRC remain one of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis zones. International Medical Corps is addressing humanitarian needs in Tanganyika, North Kivu and South Kivu provinces, with activities focused on primary healthcare, nutrition and polio surveillance.
According to the United Nations, 2 million children under 5 in the DRC are affected by severe acute malnutrition—a figure that represents 12 percent of the world’s caseload for that age group.
Violence among armed groups, land disputes and rampant sexual violence against women and children continue, especially in several areas of North Kivu. International Medical Corps began working in DRC in 1999 and in the years since has provided assistance to more than 2 million people. About 80 percent of those we have supported were displaced by the war. Today, we work in some of the country’s most remote and volatile areas, often where the presence of other international organizations is extremely limited or non-existent.