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

    Rolling Thunder Tribute to US Military Turns into a Trump Rally

    Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    Video Canine Reading Buddies Help Students With Literacy

    Idea behind reading program is that sharing book with nonjudgmental companion boosts students' confidence and helps instill love of reading

    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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora