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World Food Programme

Conflict drives acute hunger in the Democratic Republic of Congo - IPC report

World Food Programme

30 May 2023

UN agencies warn that record hunger levels in the DRC require livelihood support and long-term investment. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) call for more support to improve livelihoods while responding to emergencies.

May 29, 2023: Accra/Johannesburg/Kinshasa - An estimated 6.7 million people are experiencing crisis or emergency levels of food insecurity in North and South Kivu and Ituri, representing a 10 percent increase from last year.

The latest Integrated Food Security Phase, IPC analysis released by the government found that 25.8 million people continue to face crisis or emergency levels of food insecurity triggered by poor harvests, violence-driven displacement, disease, unemployment, and collapsing infrastructure.

The report shows that areas worst affected by food insecurity include Djugu and Masisi in Ituri and Rutshuru, Nyiragongo, Goma, Beni, and Mambassa in Nord Kivu. Violence and insecurity have cut off whole communities from their fields. Even when food is available, higher prices mean poor households need help to afford sufficient and proper nutritious food. The conflict has also made the delivery of humanitarian assistance difficult.

"The fight against food insecurity remains the most critical challenge for the Democratic Republic of Congo. The IPC identified the number of people in food insecurity throughout the country," José Ilanga Lofonga, Secretary General of the Ministry of Agriculture, explained. "We must mobilize support and resources and protect the households who depend on food assistance in territories affected by conflict."

"Food insecurity in the DRC over the past five years remains among the highest in the world. It places vulnerable populations in a tough situation," said Aristide Ongone Obame, FAO Representative in the DRC. "Despite this situation's structural and cyclical causes, investing in agricultural development pays off with multiplier effects. The DRC urgently needs additional funding to boost agricultural production and promote food and income sources diversification."

"We are worried by the number of people displaced by conflict, leaving more families hungry. WFP is ramping up its assistance schemes to improve livelihoods. However, DRC needs greater investments in agriculture and rural development to turn the tide against hunger." WFP DRC Country Representative and Director Peter Musoko, said.

UN Agencies Step up Action to Support the most vulnerable.

FAO will provide multi-sectoral assistance to strengthen food production and generate income for vulnerable populations in areas severely affected by high levels of acute food insecurity. FAO requires US$106.4 million to assist around 1.8 million people in the crop, livestock, and fish production sectors in 2023.

During the 2022/2023 agricultural season, the organization assisted nearly half a million people with seeds and farming tools to strengthen their livelihoods and increase local food production. In addition, an extensive FAO-improved seed production program is underway to replenish the national seed capital and increase the availability of improved seeds adapted to climate change and with high nutritional value.

WFP plans to reach 7.1 million people in DRC this year. While emergency food assistance is critical to arresting hunger, WFP's resilience-building work fosters food self-sufficiency, sustainable livelihoods, early shock recovery, and long-term peace. For example, WFP's school meals program encourages the enrolment of children in schools, helps them stay there, and boosts local economies by providing markets for smallholder farmers. WFP needs US$ 257.8 million to sustain critical programs for the next six months.

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Note for editors

High levels of acute food insecurity" (or acute hunger) refers to populations in IPC phase 3 or higher. Populations classified in IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) and IPC Phase 4 (Emergency) need urgent action to save lives, reduce food consumption gaps and protect livelihoods. In Phase 3, families may resort to less preferred or less nutritious food or may skip meals or sell productive assets to put food on the table; in Phase 4, they may resort to more extreme strategies such as selling the last animal that provided them with a means of livelihood or begging.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is a specialized agency that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. It aims to transform agrifood systems, making them more efficient, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable for better production, nutrition, environment, and life, leaving no one behind. FAO's goal is to achieve food security for all and ensure people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is the world's largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability, and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters, and the impact of climate change.



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