Today, the U.S. government announced nearly $67 million in additional humanitarian assistance for the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) at the DRC Humanitarian Conference held in Geneva, Switzerland.
With the assistance announced today, the United States is providing food, protection, shelter, health care, and other urgent aid for vulnerable Congolese and refugees in the DRC. This funding is also supporting the humanitarian response for new Congolese refugees in the region, including the construction of new settlements, water infrastructure, logistics, and other life-saving assistance. While the United States is disappointed that the government of the DRC elected not to participate in today's conference, we nevertheless urge the government of the DRC to continue working to ensure that life-saving humanitarian assistance reaches those in need.
The intensifying conflicts in the DRC since late 2016 have left more than 13 million people in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, including 7.7 million people facing acute food insecurity. There are now 4.5 million Congolese displaced from their homes within the country-double the number displaced at the beginning of 2017. Countries neighboring the DRC host some 700,000 Congolese refugees, including more than 50,000 who have fled so far in 2018.
The DRC is at a critical juncture, with the opportunity for the country's first ever peaceful, democratic transfer of power. While elections alone will not address the DRC's many challenges, a credible electoral process that leads to a democratic transfer of power without violence is essential for securing a more prosperous and peaceful future for the DRC and its people.
The United States is the single largest donor to this humanitarian response. Since October 2016, the U.S. government has provided nearly $277 million in critical assistance to people in need in the DRC and for Congolese refugees in the region. We applaud the contributions of countries in the region that are hosting Congolese refugees, and the other donors who joined us in announcing new funding today. We urge more donors to provide new and additional resources to help those who are suffering in the midst of this terrible conflict and the DRC government to take steps to address underlying causes of insecurity that have given rise to the displacement and conflict and fueled the humanitarian crisis.