The most recent escalation of violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has resulted in a significant increase in the number of displaced people. There are currently 6.7million displaced people in DRC. In the province of North Kivu, 200,000 people have been forced to flee their homes since the beginning of October 2023.

Heather Kerr, DRC Country Director, said

"The current escalation of violence in North Kivu has pushed the displacement crisis to an alarming level. The humanitarian needs are overwhelming, and women and girls are particularly vulnerable to the devastating consequences of this violence. Eastern DRC has become one of the most dangerous places in the world for women and children. They are now facing a protection crisis, at a level not seen before, where gender based violence is happening all the time. Further exacerbating the protection crisis is the lack of food  in the displacement camps; women are forced to go outside to find food so they can feed their children, with many reporting that they have been exploited for sex in exchange for a few potatoes. 

"We must prioritize the protection and empowerment of women and girls in our response to this crisis. Their resilience and strength are remarkable, and we are committed to ensuring they have the support and resources they need to rebuild their lives in dignity."

The IRC and its local NGO partners have launched an emergency response to protect children and support survivors of gender-based violence. Our teams provide counseling, healthcare and legal assistance to those affected. IRC is also focusing on long-term solutions, building partnerships with local authorities and providing training for over 50 community agents. 

The IRC calls on the international community to stand in solidarity with the women and girls of the DRC, scale up the response to GBV in the country which is currently only 28% funded, and provide the necessary support to alleviate the suffering caused by the ongoing violence and displacement. If the response is not fully funded, millions will be left without life-saving GBV support. The IRC continues to work closely with local partners and communities to address the urgent needs of those affected.