Kinshasa — MORE than 2 million children are at risk of death from severe acute malnutrition if the conflict-torn Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) fails to secure funding.
The World Food Programme (WFP) warned of the catastrophe ahead of a United Nations (UN) envoy visiting the Central African country where several provinces have witnessed deterioration in humanitarian conditions in recent months.
Mark Lowcock, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, is on a fact-finding mission until Tuesday (tomorrow).
Of the millions of children facing famine, nearly 300 000 are in the Kasai region, said Bettina Luescher, spokeswoman for the WFP.
Kasai is the epicentre of anarchy by militia groups involved in clashes with the national army.
Earlier this year, the DRC's humanitarian community launched a record $ 1,68 billion (R19,85 billion) fund appeal to meet the needs of nearly 10,5 million people affected by banditry also afflicting the Ituri, Kivu and Tanganyika regions.
UN will hold the first ever donor conference for the DRC in Switzerland in April.
"We have a great responsibility for the situation in the DRC. Now is the time to stay the course," said Jens Laerke, spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
He pointed out to date, nearly 4,5 million people have been displaced, making DRC the African country most affected by internal displacement.
Years of instability and conflict have fueled one of the world's most complex humanitarian crises.
It is feared the insecurity will not create an environment conducive to free and credible elections towards the end of the year.