UN migration agency calls for immediate action to respond to 'severe' humanitarian crisis in Congo

UN migration agency calls for immediate action to respond to 'severe' humanitarian crisis in Congo

Current response 'insufficient' to meet overwhelming needs, according to International Organization for Migration

By Beyza Binnur Donmez

GENEVA (AA) - The International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Tuesday called for immediate and sustained action to respond to the "severe" humanitarian crisis in the volatile eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Heavy fighting between the Congolese armed forces and the M23 rebel group in the country’s troubled North Kivu province has forced thousands of civilians to flee their homes.

The displaced are suffering the brunt of what has been "one of the world's most neglected crises," the agency said in a statement, adding that as many as 6.9 million people have moved since October.

"The humanitarian situation is dire," the IOM said, adding that armed groups continue to exacerbate violence, causing widespread displacement and straining an already fragile context.

It said the proximity of frontlines and presence of weapons in and around displacement sites significantly compromise the security of displaced populations, as in 2024 alone 16 incidents in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) sites have resulted in the deaths of at least 37 people and injuries to more than 50.

The agency said that disasters also have compounded the humanitarian crisis as rising water levels in Lake Tanganyika, heavy rains, and overflooded rivers have caused flooding and landslides, particularly in South Kivu and Tanganyika, displacing over 50,000 people in May alone.

"Despite significant challenges, humanitarian organizations remain committed to providing life-saving support," it said. "However, the current response is insufficient to meet the overwhelming needs."

The agency said access to essential resources such as food, shelter, and health care "remains critical."

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