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People in DRC Face Death as Money for Humanitarian Aid Dries Up 

A refugee camp hosting about 30,000 South Sudanese in Aba, Democratic Republic of Congo. (J. Patinkin for VOA)

The International Organization for Migration warns that many people in the Democratic Republic of Congo will die if international donors do not plug the enormous funding gap that is depriving millions of people from receiving crucial humanitarian assistance.

The DRC is beset by widespread insecurity and escalating conflicts in many parts of the country. Extreme violence by armed groups in Kasai and Tanganyika in eastern DRC last year has pushed the number of internally displaced people in the country to 4.3 million, the largest in Africa.

IOM DRC Chief of Mission Jean-Philippe Chauzy says the humanitarian situation in the country has dramatically deteriorated during the past year. He says more than 13 million people will need international assistance to survive.

Chauzy says the U.N. Humanitarian Response plan for DRC will officially be launched Thursday in the capital of Kinshasa. He says the plan calls for $1.68 billion for 2018, which is twice the amount requested last year. The additional amount is to meet the growing needs.

“Take into account the low level of funding last year, we certainly hope that donors will step up and increase their funding to make sure that if we cannot reach the $1.68 billion, at least get close to it because the needs are there, and they were identified,” said Chauzy. “And if we do not get that level of funding, the people will die. And the most vulnerable will die first. And the children will die first. And that is a fact. That is a fact.”

Money from the U.N. Response Plan is divided among the many U.N. agencies to run their humanitarian operations this coming year. Of that sum, IOM is appealing for $75 million to urgently meet the growing needs of displaced Congolese and the communities hosting them in North and South Kivu, Tanganyika and the Kasai.