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DRC: Emergency response to displaced people in the Kasai region

Published on Wednesday 18 October 2017

SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL conducted a study to evaluate the extent of the needs in the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and concluded that action had to be taken in Lomami province, particularly to rehabilitate the Kapangu health centre that was affected by the conflicts.

From August 2016 to May 2017, conflicts between the armed group Kamuena Nsapu and the central government did not stop rising in the Kasaï region. The intensity of the fighting in the Kapangu area last April lead to human and property damages. After the government restored order last June, populations that had been fleeing the conflict were able to come back progressively to the area.

A difficult return

In the Kasai, one of the poorest regions in DRC, most houses are made with straw, brushwood and soil. During the conflicts that affected the region, houses were burnt, cattle killed and food supplies stolen. When they came back, people needed urgent aid to respond to essential needs: to drink, to eat, and to take shelter”, explains Xavier Lauth, Head of Mission at SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL.

SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL’s teams set up a rapid response to displaced people. With the support of our partners the European Union, UNICEF and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), they are able to respond to those needs. They distribute cash to the most vulnerable people so they can cover their food needs for a month and domestic kits with basic products for resettlement, such as kitchen utensils, water container or soap.

boy bycicle congo

Hygiene is a permanent challenge

When not destroyed, health centres are difficult to access for displaced people while the need in water, sanitation and hygiene is critical. “Diseases like malaria and diarrhoea are direct consequences of an unhealthy environment and a lack of hygiene facilities. They threaten the displaced families who fled to marsh areas in the bush,” claims Xavier Lauth.

The support to Kapangu Health Care Centre will enable 1,791 families in the area to improve their living conditions

SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL realized through its study that 20% of families have non-traditional and non-sanitary latrines while 80% of the population defecate in the open air. Latrine were built in health centres, and water points were rehabilitated in the Kapangu area. The support to the Kapangu health centre will enable 1,791 families in the area to improve their living conditions.

Photos: Thomas Gruel

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Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

Context and action
  • 84 millions inhabitants
  • 72,5% poverty rate
  • 176th out of 188 on the Human Development Index
  • 955,330 people helped