IFRC announces CHF 50 million appeal to support the Democratic Republic of the Congo amidst escalating crisis

Red Cross of the Democratic Republic of the Congo visits refugee camp

A member of the Red Cross of the Democratic Republic of the Congo speaks to a woman who is living in a camp after fleeing violence.

Photo: IFRC

Geneva/Nairobi/Goma, 8 March 2024 – The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), in collaboration with the Red Cross Society of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC Red Cross), today announced an Emergency Appeal for CHF 50 million to address the escalating humanitarian crisis in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, particularly in North Kivu and South Kivu provinces. 

For nearly two years, this region has been embroiled in a devastating conflict that has seen a dramatic increase in complexity and intensity, leading to unprecedented levels of displacement and humanitarian need. The IFRC and DRC Red Cross aim to provide critical assistance to 500,000 of the most vulnerable people, including families and individuals internally displaced by the conflict, and their host communities, focusing on food assistance, health services, water, sanitation, hygiene, and protection services. 

“The situation in the eastern DRC has reached a critical point, with millions of lives at stake,” said Mercy Laker, Head of Country Delegation, IFRC in Democratic Republic of Congo. “Our appeal seeks to mobilize essential resources to alleviate the suffering of those caught amid this crisis. The resilience of the Congolese people is remarkable, but the international community must act swiftly to support them in their time of dire need.” 

The DRC Red Cross boasts a significant presence and operational footprint in the affected area, with thousands of active volunteers mobilized. "This Emergency Appeal will support the DRC Red Cross reach and assist those most in need amongst displaced families as well as host communities," Laker added.  

Since the beginning of the crisis in March 2022, over 1.6 million people have been displaced, with recent escalations forcing hundreds of thousands more to seek refuge in already overcrowded conditions. The fighting has moved dangerously close to Goma, exacerbating the vulnerability of the population to diseases like cholera, and severely impacting access to basic services such as healthcare and clean water. 

Gloria Lombo, Secretary General of the DRC Red Cross, highlighted the scale of the challenge: “People are living in extremely precarious conditions, packed into family homes or camps. They are already at the breaking point – mentally, physically, and financially. Most of the assistance provided by humanitarian organizations goes to people in camps on the outskirts of Goma, but a lack of funding and the scale of people’s needs mean that this is insufficient.”   

With 50,000 volunteers in North Kivu alone, the DRC Red Cross is best placed to access areas where other humanitarian organizations cannot reach. “With 26 provincial branches, an active volunteer base, and high levels of access and acceptance across the territory, and across the lines of conflict, the DRC Red Cross is a key humanitarian actor and first responder. Our network of branches and volunteers, particularly well-trained and widely accepted by communities, has provided vital assistance to the hardest-to-reach communities and marginalized groups in the country. We have been at the front line of assisting displaced populations since the beginning of the conflict,” Lombo emphasized. 

The appeal aims to strengthen DRC Red Cross' existing capabilities to provide direct assistance to affected communities, leveraging its operational footprint and volunteer base to ensure effective delivery of food assistance, health services and WASH. It also underscores the importance of community engagement, accountability, and adherence to protection, gender, and inclusion standards to refine targeting methodologies and ensure the most vulnerable are reached. Additionally, the IFRC is scaling up its cross-border coordination with neighboring National Red Cross Societies in Rwanda, Burundi, and Uganda to prepare for potential regional impacts and support refugees as needed. 

More information 

To fund the emergency appeal and support the people of Democratic Republic of Congo in their time of dire need, visit the IFRC website. 

To request an interview, contact: [email protected] 

In Geneva: 

Tommaso Della Longa: +41 79 708 43 67 

Mrinalini Santhanam: +41 76 381 50 06 

In Nairobi: 

Susan Nzisa Mbalu: +254 733 827 654 


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