With the hunger crisis in the conflict-ridden Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) rapidly deepening, 7.7 million people – one quarter of the population – do not have reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.
In the worst-off communities, nine out of ten people are food insecure – one in two severely so. Global Acute Malnutrition rates in children under 5 have reached 14 percent, well above the 10 percent emergency threshold. 4.6 million children are acutely malnourished, including 2.2 million who suffer from severe acute malnutrition and are at risk of dying.
Since conflict erupted in August 2016, an estimated 1.4 million people have been displaced within the region or have fled to neighbouring Angola. While approximately half of them have returned to their places of origin, 762,000 people remain internally displaced.
Most internally displaced families have now missed two consecutive planting seasons. Many of the most vulnerable now eat little more than a meal a day – typically just cassava root and leaves – that is lacking in protein, vitamins and minerals. Survival measures adopted by the displaced include begging, prostitution and the eating of seeds that should be planted.
What the World Food Programme is doing to respond to the emergency in Kasai
Food assistanceWFP is providing full-ration food distributions (cereal, pulses, vegetable oil and salt) to priority families, identified as particularly vulnerable. In 2017, WFP supported 450,000 conflict-affected people, with plans to reach 1.2 million people in 2018.
NutritionTo prevent malnutrition in young children, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers WFP is distributing specialized nutritious foods.
Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS)To meet the huge needs of displaced populations in the region of Kasai, UNHAS DRC has increased substantially its air services in this region. In a context where access to affected populations is a big challenge, UNHAS DRC helps to improve access to the displaced by positioning an aircrafts and helicopters to Kananga on a permanent basis so that humanitarian actors have greater mobility to serve them.