Massive humanitarian funding shortfall in DRC as estimated 100,000 die of neglect in just 3 months

Published: 15 May 2006

The humanitarian crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is being neglected by rich countries, warned aid agency Oxfam International today. Donors have committed only $94m (14%) of the $682m needed for the Humanitarian Action Plan (HAP) developed by the UN, Red Cross and aid agencies, since the appeal was launched 13th February. In that three-month period, an estimated 100,000 people have died from conflicted related causes.

The warning comes as the clock ticks down towards the country's first multi-party elections in 40 years, currently due to be held on 30th July.

Oxfam believes rich countries must give their fair share of the appeal total, and yet no major donors have given enough:

  • US and Japan have made miniscule commitments relative to the size of their economies

  • France and Germany have only made small commitments

  • Italy has pledged nothing

Oxfam country manager for DRC, Juliette Prodhan said: "Donors have rightly invested over $450m in support of the elections, but voting alone won't cure the problems in DRC. Significant humanitarian assistance is urgently needed in order to save lives. Rich country governments have a moral obligation to act when 1,200 people are dying every day from conflict-related causes. To their shame Italy, Germany and France have committed nothing or almost nothing to the appeal, while the contributions of countries like the US and Japan remain miniscule compared with the size of their economies."

Oxfam is also calling on those countries that traditionally give above their fair share to commit funds rapidly. Countries like Finland, Sweden and Canada usually set the example, but their response to this latest plan is disappointing. Donors that have not given to DRC in the past, like New Zealand, Australia and Spain, also need to contribute if the scale of need is to be met.

Furthermore, Oxfam calls upon those countries that have committed humanitarian funds to make them available for project implementation as soon as possible.

The Democratic Republic of Congo remains one of the world's forgotten disaster zones with an estimated 3.9m people that have died as a result of the conflict in the past 8 years. The HAP has raised just $9.40 for every person in need for the next year, against $550 per person that was raised in the UN's tsunami flash appeal in 2005.

Oxfam witnesses repeated and massive displacement of people in areas we work in, notably in Ituri, and the Kivus. In large parts of the east of the country, the security environment hampers humanitarian access and makes it difficult for us to deliver urgently needed assistance. As a result communities that we work with are no longer able to receive essential public health services.

"The stark reality is that humanitarian needs in DRC are receiving one sixtieth of what was contributed to alleviate suffering after the 2004 tsunami. Every penny that went to tsunami relief was appropriate given the scale of the disaster, but it goes to show just how much DRC is being neglected, " added Prodhan.

An additional $26m has been committed to humanitarian projects in DRC outside the framework of the HAP, according to UN OCHA figures. Such non-appeal and bi-lateral funding is important, but Oxfam believes donors should focus on supporting the implementation of the HAP, which is based on an accurate needs assessment and coordination of projects amongst a much
larger group of actors.

Contact Information

For more information please contact:
Douglas Keatinge, +44-1865472359/+44-7785257872, dkeatinge@oxfam.org.uk
Eva Smets, + 243-813489309, esmets@oxfam.org.uk
Beatrice Karanja, +254-202820136, +254-733632810, bkaranja@oxfam.org.uk