Since 1998, an estimated 5.4 million people have lost their lives in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), in the deadliest conflict since the Second World War.
We are deeply concerned about the humanitarian impact of the recent escalation fighting, the worst it has been in years. People face killings, rape, abductions, torture, and economic exploitation, at the hands of many different armed groups, including their own government and security forces.
Voice of Congo: Testimonies of people who have fled the conflict
What Oxfam is doing
Oxfam is working in eastern DRC, Rwanda and Uganda and aims to reach around 230,000 people affected by this new crisis. We have been responding to needs in IDP sites near Goma since July 2012. As of the end of February 2013, in North Kivu, we were reaching around 150,000 people - roughly 100,000 in and around Goma and 50,000 in Rubaya (Masisi territory) - with clean water and sanitation, and community services, and delivering food programs in some camps.
View IDP camps near Goma, DRC in a larger map
In Bulengo camp, in just six weeks, we set up a water piping system allowing us to pump water straight from Lake Kivu, into two tanks and then to the taps. So clean water is now reaching over 50,000 displaced people there.
In Mugunga I, we have been providing water and sanitation for a few months and are one of the leading agencies in a camp hosting over 60,000.
Our water and sanitation program in Masisi (north of Goma) brought much-needed infrastructure for water in a region that has seen a lot of cholera cases lately and where people are often on the move.
You can donate directly to our humanitarian work in the DRC:
Alternatively, please consider making a donation to the general emergency fund of your nearest national Oxfam affiliate. Your money will be used to fund our emergency work worldwide, which includes responding in countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Worsening insecurity and violent conflict in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo are creating a severe humanitarian crisis.
People in the town of Goma and across the provinces of North and South Kivu are afraid for their lives and are fleeing their homes in search of safety, some heading into Rwanda and others moving towards the IDP camps to the west of Goma.
More than 2.5 million people are now displaced in Congo – with more than 760,000 displaced since the beginning of the year in the Kivus.
The civilian population faces killings, forced recruitment of children, extortion, pillaging and sexual violence at the hands of numerous armed groups and even the Congolese security forces.
This situation is of great concern as fighting for control continues without any real prospect of a long term solution. M23’s promise to end its rebellion signals an important milestone for DRC, but the demise of one group doesn’t spell the end of conflict. Other armed groups have control over a number of areas in Eastern DRC which raises larger concerns of insecurity.
The people of eastern DRC have suffered too much for too long, and their desire for security and the chance to get on with their lives is too often ignored. This new catastrophe must be the final wake up call for the African Union, regional institutions and governments and the international community to move to concerted action.
There must be an immediate halt to the fighting and access for humanitarian agencies to reach the 2.5 million people who need immediate aid.
Ultimately, we need real leadership to ensure there is a long lasting solution between the Government of DRC and other armed groups, brokered by a neutral mediator identified by the African Union, and backed by regional governments and the international community.
Our latest report on civilian protection in the DRC: Commodities of War: Communities speak out on the true cost of conflict in eastern DRC (Nov 2012)
Lobbying Brief: "For me, but without me, is against me": Why efforts to stabilize the Democratic Republic of Congo are not working (pdf 957kb, 4 July 2012)
Oxfam survey on security in DRC: ‘We are entirely exploitable’: The lack of protection for civilians in eastern DRC (July 2011)
Story: Voices from the DRC: One man's dream of a better life
- Sexual Violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Oxfam America, March 2009)
- Stop the Killing in the Congo (November 2009)
More on Oxfam's work in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Updated 26 February 2013