UNHCR – Funding shortfall forces UNHCR to cut vital programs in DR Congo Donate


Dominique Hyde, Director of UNHCR’s Division of External Relations, speaks with Wini Azuki, a 30-year-old South Sudanese refugee, outside her home in Ngota, Democratic Republic of Congo, July 27, 2022. © UNHCR/Guerchom Ndebo

Due to insufficient funding, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is unable to respond adequately to the growing humanitarian needs of refugees and internally displaced persons in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) .

The DRC is one of the most underfunded UNHCR operations in the world. As of June 30, 2022, only 19% of the $225 million budgeted at the start of the year had been secured. This has significant repercussions on the lives of those forced to flee.

The needs in the DRC are enormous. At the beginning of the year, the country hosted more than half a million refugees and asylum seekers, and more than 5.6 million internally displaced people.

Fighting between the Congolese army and non-state armed groups in North Kivu province has displaced an additional 160,000 people since April. In addition, UNHCR and its partners in Ituri province recorded more than 800 deaths from gun attacks and machete raids on local communities, which drove 20,700 people from at her’s.

During a visit to Ituri province, DRC, from July 25-28, UNHCR’s Director of External Relations, Dominique Hyde, witnessed the strength in the face of the horror shown by women, forcibly displaced men and children, but also the impacts of underfunding.

At the current rate, 82% of internally displaced people will not receive adequate housing. They will be forced to sleep in churches, schools and stadiums, in the open air, or may resort to returning home despite the risk of being targeted by armed groups.

Every child has the right to primary education, but in the DRC, due to underfunding, only 16% of South Sudanese refugee children can go to school. At current funding levels, UNHCR cannot support a single refugee child to attend secondary school this year.

Without additional support, UNHCR will be forced to cut cash and subsistence kits for agriculture, fisheries and livestock. These shortcomings, combined with severe droughts in eastern and southern Africa, will lead to hunger among many displaced people.

While attention focuses on some of the world’s biggest crises in Syria, Afghanistan and, more recently, Ukraine, other emergencies, including many in Africa, have not attracted the same level of attention, support and resources.

Today, these underfunded crises face a toxic cocktail of conflict, climate shocks and the socio-economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the devastating ripple effects of war in Ukraine. Food and fuel prices are rising dramatically, further draining humanitarian resources.

International solidarity with people fleeing war in Ukraine has been overwhelming. We need a similar response – and increased financial support – to all crises around the world.

Every day, UNHCR and its partners respond to these crises, but we cannot do it alone. We urgently call on the international community to act now and support those in desperate need.

For more information on this subject, please contact:

  • In DR Congo, Joel Smith, [email protected]+243825257774
  • In Pretoria (regional), Pumla Rulashe, [email protected]+27 82 377 5665
  • In Geneva, Boris Chechirkov, [email protected]+41 79 433 7682
  • In New York, Kathryn Mahoney, [email protected]+1 347 443 7646

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