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World Food Programme Broadens Operation to Stem Severe Hunger in Democratic Republic of Congo’s Kasai Region (16.02.2018)

Assessments showed that 3.2 million people, a quarter of the region’s population of mostly subsistence farmers, were desperately short of Food.

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, February 16, 2018 -In the face of escalating violence, daunting logistical challenges and insufficient funding, the United Nations World Food Programme is energizing two key elements of its emergency operation to prevent famine in war-ravaged Kasai: cash distributions to the most vulnerable and specialist support to check acute malnutrition in women and young children.

Since the launch last week of the cash initiative – a cost-efficient alternative to in-kind support that allows beneficiaries to buy what they want in recovering local markets – 38,000 people have received the equivalent of US$15 each for a month, enough to meet their basic food needs. The intention is to more than double that reach in the coming weeks.

Recent airlifts from France of Plumpy’Sup, a micronutrient-rich ready-to-use supplementary food, have enabled a significant scale-up of WFP’s nutrition interventions in Kasai: 56,000 malnourished children treated in January, up from 21,000 in the final quarter of last year. The number is to grow by 20,000 a month, to 140,000 in June.

“The nutrition and cash programmes are life-saving, and must quickly expand”, said Claude Jibidar, WFP’s Representative in DRC. “We’re not doing nearly as much as we could in Kasai because the obstacles are huge. But unless we collectively rise to the challenges, many more people, including the weakest women and children, will die”.

WFP launched its assistance programme following the eruption of brutal political and ethnic violence in mid-2016 that claimed countless lives, razed entire villages and forced hundreds of thousands of families from their homes. Assessments showed that 3.2 million people, a quarter of the region’s population of mostly subsistence farmers, were desperately short of food.

Without a prior presence in Kasai, between September and December last year WFP achieved a tenfold increase in the number of people receiving food rations, to 400,000. But lagging donations forced a heavy reliance on scarce internal funds, and a halving of those rations – of cereal, beans, vegetable oil and salt – in November.

Continued funding constraints, an upsurge in fighting between pro- and anti-government forces and a rapid, rainy season deterioration of the already poor road network saw the number receiving half-rations drop to 130,000 in January.

“That reversal has to be corrected, and quickly”, said Jibidar. “We’ve shown we have capacity to deliver, but to reach sufficient scale we need the fighting to stop and donors to step up”.

Limited funding is also a major challenge in the eastern DRC provinces of Tanganyika and South Kivu, where WFP is scaling up to meet the needs of growing conflict-displaced populations as part of a broad push by UN agencies and NGOs.

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RDC: CLC – “Trois jounees de jeune et de priere des pretres, religieux et religieuses de Kinshasa pour la RDC (de mercerdi 14 a samedi 17 fevrier 2018) – (13.02.2018)

RDC: CLC – “Troisieme Appel du Comite Laic De Coordination Dimanche 25 Fevrier 2018 – Marchons pour Dire Non a La Dictature!” (10.02.2018)

DR Congo: Call for an International Donor Conference (09.02.2018)

By Samy Badibanga, former Prime Minister of DRC.

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, February 9, 2018 – The political conundrum of the elections has blinded us all: the emergency in DR Congo is political as much as it is human and humanitarian. Of course, everything must be done so that the Congolese people can choose their leaders at the end of 2018. But, at the beginning of 2018, the top priority is to protect the lives of 13 million people threatened by the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Kasai, Kivu, Tanganyika and other provinces of the Congo. And this requires an International Donor Conference in order to raise the $1.68 billion for the United Nations humanitarian response plan for the Congo.

This crisis kills every passing second. It kills women, children, and men who have fled the violence, hidden in the forest or even further away, and have nothing left when they return. This disaster could soon claim between one and two million lives if humanitarian aid is not funded. These dizzying figures are a poor reflection of the reality of a child or a woman taking their last breath. Not killed by violence, but by famine or disease.

The Congo crisis has been neglected. Today, it is the largest humanitarian crisis on the planet, and it is also the least funded, despite being classified at the maximum level of humanitarian emergency by the United Nations. The conflict between the Pygmies and Bantu in Tanganyika alone has already displaced 500,000 people – as many as the Rohingya crisis in Burma. According to UNOCHA, as well as those in Tanganyika, there are 1.5 million displaced in Kasai and more than 950,000 in Kivu and other provinces, making a total of 4.35 million people. In Uganda, 238,000 Congolese have sought shelter to escape the violence in Kivu, and a thousand more arrive each week. 7,000 people have taken refuge in Burundi and 33,000 in Angola, to name but a few. In fact, the total population displacement in the Congo today comes to more than that in Syria, Iraq and Yemen combined. How many of these 4.35 million displaced people are joining the migration routes from the Horn of Africa to the Libyan slave camps?

Whilst the conflict born in Kasai in August 2016 has killed 5,000 people so far, two million more could die of hunger. These populations survived the conflict, and returned at the end of the violence only to be unable to find food, water, toilets, clothes, roofs or shelter, work or school or any public services, and finding in their place villages burned to the ground, health centres looted, roads destroyed, agricultural plantations ravaged and cholera?

This is the plea for help from the churches where people are taking refuge that we have been proclaiming since the beginning of November 2017 on behalf of the Hope coordination, led by Cardinal Mosengwo for the Catholic Church and the Rev. Bokundoa, President of the Protestant Church, to the United Nations, the European Union, France and the entire international community. It is on behalf of this wounded, violated, displaced and abandoned population that we are calling for the urgent organisation of an International Donor Conference.

On 17 November 2016, the International Conference for the Central African Republic raised $2.2 billion. According to the United Nations, the humanitarian funding needs in the DRC for 2018 amount to $1.68 billion. The Congo, whose population is close to 90 million, twenty times more than the CAR and its 4.59 million people, is in great need of the same level of global solidarity.

Without an International Donor Conference, the United Nations humanitarian response plan for 2018 will not be even half funded. At the end of January 2018, it was 2% financed, and the plight of the people of the Congo forgotten by a planet in crisis. Yet, strong humanitarian action can still save millions of lives and give hope for a new future for the Congolese. By adding emergency aid to action for the post-conflict rehabilitation of socio-economic infrastructure, it will be possible to envisage progress towards sustainable development goals in a country of nearly 100 million people, where any progress can have a major impact. This is where the International Donor Conference for the Congo, which we call upon the international community to organise as quickly as possible, should lead us.

The DRC crisis can no longer be neglected: goo.gl/QtAawq

RDC: Association Culturelle Ente av. Ituri – Communique Necrologique (04.02.2018)

RDC – CENI: “Point de Presse de son Excellence Monsieur le President de la Commission Electorale Nationale Independente” (31.01.2018)

RDC – Sud Kivu: “Objet: Denonciation de l’irresponsabilite politique de Monsieur Justin Bitawira” (29.01.2018)

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (27.01.2018)

The Secretary-General condemns the killing of a peacekeeper from Pakistan deployed with the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) following an ambush by members of an armed ‪group today near Lulimba, 96 km south west of Baraka, in South Kivu Province. At least one other peacekeeper was wounded in the attack.

The Secretary-General extends his heartfelt condolences to the family of the deceased and to the people and government of Pakistan. He wishes a speedy recovery to the injured and calls on those responsible for this attack to be brought to justice.

The Secretary-General reiterates his call on armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to lay down their arms and seek to resolve their grievances peacefully. He reaffirms the readiness of MONUSCO and the United Nations system to continue working with the authorities of the DRC to help address the security challenges facing the country.

RDC: Comite Laic De Coordination (CLC) – Communique (27.01.2018)

Opinion: President Kabila uses the argument of financial restraint to postpone the elections; Any tricks to stay I assume!

There was scheduled Presidential Elections in November 2016, as the end of the second official term of President Joseph Kabila would end on the 19th December 2016. However, we are in January 2018 and days away from February 2018. Still, there are no credible movement or changes within the leadership or the government to prepare for a genuine exercise of a new election. It’s unlikely that CENI will deliver, not matter sort of international pressure. That is proven by the first Press Conference in ages or years from the President himself who said this:

“The election budget is 1.2 billion dollars, and I say it quite often, the elections in this country are starting to cost us a lot more than even the development of the country. And at some point we will have to make a choice, will it be necessary to be cited around the world as the most democratic country, or is the development that counts?” he said” (…) “Today, we are nearing the end of enlistment operations in Kasai. We are more or less 46 million voters enlisted. The elections in this country is a vast operation,” said Joseph Kabila” (…) ““We must take the most courageous options and decisions not to fall or fall back into the situation with a budget of 1.2 billion for elections, while we have a total budget of 6 or 7 billions,” added the Congolese president” (Xuequan, 2018).

What is striking that he is using the defense of budget and funds. While his own Republic who had scheduled this ever since he won in November 2011. Could have planned funds ahead for a coming election. If they are a serious government and if it is such a big operations, why did the Kabila government plan it earlier?

A thing that the President should be careful about, is that United Kingdom has already spent funds on Electoral Operations and Electoral Organizations in the years ahead of the 2016 and still supports it with funding. This they do together with United States Aid (USAID). The Development tracker proves that the UK has already donated £6,6m in April 2015 to technical support to the National Electoral Body (CENI), from the same donors £3,5m in April 2015 to civic education, also in April 2015 gotten £2,5m to Election Observers through the Carter Center. In October 2016, the UK donated to promote woman participation in the Election a total of £1m. The DFID has already also pledged for supporting the Electoral Process in total £14,5m. This is just from one Nation to another. That is funds that is already spent and misused. While he is crying foul.

President Kabila should be careful playing with fire, especially since he is creating insecurity with his position. That someone is speaking of delaying election into April 2019. There was already rumored in August 2017 that it would either be in 2019 or 2020. So it is not to far off, after the new timeline was released in November 2017. That was a year after the term ended. Still, there was no international outcry, neither was anyone really supporting the CENCO initiative or trying to force Kabila out.

Kabila has been allowed to stall for time, to buy time and awaiting his next move. Since he didn’t change the Constitution like many other clinging to power Presidents. That was one of his foolish moves, since he really doesn’t want to step and give way for a legitimate President in the Republic. His term already ended 434 days ago or 1 year two months and 8 days ago.

So the saga continues and the postponed election will continue. If it is insecurity or lacking of funds continue. He will use that for his own gain, as reasons not to step down. That if there is coming militias or militants from Burundi, Rwanda or Uganda. While refugees are fleeing from the Republic to Uganda and Angola. Because of the insecurity in North and South Kivu’s, also in Kasai Province. This has not let go.

So I don’t expect any election in 2019 or following the timeline of November 2017. The CENI or Kabila administration has no plan to achieve a new Presidential Election, where Kabila has to step-down. I don’t expect a President who has already registered himself twice for the elections. That he uses expenses and that its a big operation as an excuse. Shows that since he first talked about it now, that he wants to make sure the world knows he is struggling. Even if he could have planned it together with CENI all through 2014 to 2016. Where the timeline could have been met and also fixed the succession. However, President Kabila had no interest of securing his own self leaving power. Therefore, nothing has happen.

Now he has extended his time and showed up in public for a press conference after using brutality and killing demonstrators. Had to show the world he cared and was working on solution. Even if he isn’t, it’s hard to believe he is doing anything when he is already 1 year and 2 months over his ended term. So the ones who has supported the DRC with financial aid between 2015 to 2017 for purpose of Elections, you have been tricked and given money for nothing. That is proven.

Kabila is stalling and using all tricks in the book. Expect Kabila to have more trouble with militias and insecurity, as he is the only key to stop the violence. Even if he initially sponsor it or has connections to the ones who make sure it happens. That is what is very ill about the whole situation. Peace.

Reference:

Xuequan, Mu – ‘ DR Congo: President Kabila calls on politicians to choose between elections and development’ (27.01.2018) link: http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-01/27/c_136927896.htm

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