Warning of a "dramatic deterioration" in the humanitarian crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) over the last 12 months, United Nations agencies and relief partners on Thursday launched the largest-ever funding appeal for the vast central African country.
According to the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the 2018 appeal - totalling $1.68 billion - aims to reach 10.5 million vulnerable people across the nation, where over 13 million are in need of assistance.
"The past year has been one of the most difficult for millions of civilians, with unrelenting cycle of violence, diseases, malnutrition and loss of livelihoods taking a toll on families," said Kim Bolduc, the Humanitarian Coordinator in the DRC, in capital Kinshasa, launching the appeal on Thursday.
"This appeal reflects the magnitude, severity and unpredictability of a crisis that has gone on for far too long. We are grappling with one of the world's largest, most acute, and complex humanitarian crisis."
According to OCHA, there are now some 4.3 million internally displaces persons (IDPs) across DRC - the highest number in Africa - and the country also grapples with the worst cholera outbreak in the past 15 years.
We are grappling with one of the world's largest, most acute, and complex humanitarian crisisHumanitarian Coordinator Kim Bolduc
On the food and nutrition front, over 7.7 million suffer are food insecure, a 30 per cent increase over the previous year.
Worse still is the fact that aid operations in the country suffer with severe underfunding and only half of the $812.5 million humanitarian response for 2017 was funded.
"Without the essential support of the humanitarian community, the survival of thousands of people is at risk, and hopes of early recovery will be dashed," Ms. Bolduc stressed.
"We must ensure sufficient funding so to match the magnitude of the crisis."