U.N. says Congo will need $2.25 billion to aid uprooted people in rebel-hit east

By: Reuters

KINSHASA (Reuters) – The United Nations will need to mobilise a record $2.25 billion this year to address the mass displacement of people in east Democratic Republic of Congo following a major offensive by M23 rebels last year, the U.N. coordinator for the country, Bruno Lemarquis, said on Wednesday.

Decades of militia violence in Congo’s vast mineral-rich east worsened last year after the Tutsi-led M23 staged a major come-back in North-Kivu province in March, uprooting more than 600,000 people, according to the U.N.

That has added to hordes of others displaced across east Congo over the years.

Lemarquis said in a statement before a ceremony in the capital Kinshasa that $2.25 billion would be required to resolve this crisis.

“Today, the DRC has 5.7 million internally displaced people, the largest number on the African continent,” he told Reuters during an interview on Tuesday.

“The vast majority of the targeted humanitarian needs are in Ituri, North Kivu, South Kivu and the Kasai,” he said, referring to the country’s four eastern provinces.

He said this higher 2023 budget was also needed to cover increases in operational costs linked to soaring global prices due to the war in Ukraine.

In 2022, the U.N. had planned to spend $1.88 billion for Congo. Only 48% of this objective was met, reaching only 5 million out of 8.8 million targeted people. Funds are needed for food, water, shelter and medicine.

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