News / Africa

Millions Going Hungry in Democratic Republic of Congo

A child (r) carries food stuff on her head that she and other family children try to sell by walking from market area to market area in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, May 28, 2014.
A child (r) carries food stuff on her head that she and other family children try to sell by walking from market area to market area in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, May 28, 2014.
Lisa Schlein
A new report by the World Food Program finds millions of people in the Democratic Republic of Congo are going hungry, and malnutrition rates are climbing due to a decline in foreign aid and ongoing conflict.

On paper, the DRC appears to be doing well. Since 2002, the country’s economy has grown on average six percent a year. This year, economic growth is expected to top nine percent.

Unfortunately, U.N. aid agencies say that little of that prosperity is trickling down to the population. The World Food Program says the government’s failure to invest in areas such as education, health care, sanitation, infrastructure and agriculture is undermining the country’s ability to feed itself.  

Acute food shortage

WFP spokeswoman Elizabeth Byrs said this low level of government spending, combined with a decline in foreign aid and protracted conflict in the east is creating an alarming situation for the nearly 10 percent of the population facing an acute shortage of food.

“The families have poor diet… They have a high vulnerability to diseases and also to natural disasters because they are poor, because they have no balanced diet," said Byrs. "They do not eat properly and so their body is more vulnerable to diseases. Of course because of diseases, because of people who are not properly fed, it causes major disruption to crops, of course livestock, and altogether infrastructure.”  

WFP reports that a staggering 95 percent of the people in the DRC earn less than $2 a day. It says nine percent of children under age five are acutely malnourished, and 43 percent suffer from chronic malnutrition, which is a critical state.

Myriad issues

The report finds rural areas suffer most from poverty, lack of food and high prevalence of malnutrition. It says internally displaced people and refugees from the Central African Republic are particularly vulnerable to food shortages -- as are local communities that host them.

WFP spokeswoman Byrs warned that her agency is very low on funding. She said it needs $21 million to carry out its humanitarian operations through October. Byrs warned that WFP will be forced to cut aid if it does not receive the money.

“We targeted two million people in 2014. Unfortunately, we will assist only 1.6 million if we do not get adequate funding from donors," she said. "We will target life-saving activities in acutely food insecure, and in particular children. There are two million children suffering from malnutrition, and we will focus on the life-saving program of WFP to ensure that those children get life-saving assistance.”  

Because of the funding crisis, WFP is planning to reduce the geographical coverage of its work. Byrs said assistance programs will be largely cut in areas of no conflict. She said assistance programs will be maintained in the war zones, and where IDPs and refugees continue to reside.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Rae from: USA
June 04, 2014 1:10 PM
And yet, the Congolese government continues to prevent my adopted daughter, who was adopted in a state of critical malnutrition and with severe malaria, from leaving the country with her family. They have so much work to do among their people, yet they are preventing the 200 kids who DO have families who want to care for them from being with them.

by: Dustin from: Denver, CO
June 03, 2014 5:01 PM
Can you update the link to the report from the world food program? I was not able to find it on their website.

by: Mulumba from: Tamba
June 03, 2014 4:34 PM
DRC needs to get it on with agriculture and infrastructure to bring food to people. Also a culture of work needs to be revived, Mobutu got some results by getting parliament members to grow crops in their districts and having people work the land and cleanup on Saturdays...such ideas can only be good...provided a string leader is advocating for them...

by: david hearne from: usa
June 03, 2014 2:02 PM
Every time I see photos of this tragedy, I see women with 8 or 9 children. If they can't afford to fee their children, why do they keep having so many of them?
In Response

by: emily from: canada
June 09, 2014 12:29 AM
the rate at which armed forces and other military groups rape women are exceedingly high...many are left pregnant and are unable to receive the health care necessary to get abortions or ensure the children are healthy

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs