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European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations
© Norwegian Refugee Council, 2020
Democratic Republic of the Congo



Between conflict, poverty, malnutrition and frequent disease outbreaks, humanitarian needs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are among the highest in the world.

The 2022 UN’s Humanitarian Response Plan for the DRC requires USD 1.88 billion to meet the needs of the most vulnerable people.

The EU continues to provide life-saving assistance to the most vulnerable, often people displaced by conflict or epidemics.

What are the needs?

People in the DRC have been facing persistent conflict and violence for decades. Leaving their homes behind, the most vulnerable are forced to look for safety in overcrowded family homes, makeshift camps, schools or churches, and to restart their lives repeatedly.

There are currently over 5.6 million displaced people within the DRC – the highest number in Africa. More than 1 million Congolese refugees live in neighbouring countries. Given the instability in the region, the DRC itself hosts more than half a million refugees from neighbouring countries.

Sexual and gender-based violence is widespread. Violations of human rights and international humanitarian law are reported regularly.

The ongoing violence and conflict also prevent people from accessing their fields and markets, generating food insecurity, displacement and more poverty.

Some 27 million people are acutely food insecure (over 1/4 of the population) due to the upsurge of violence, conflict and instability in eastern DRC and large internal displacement. Over 857,000 children are acutely malnourished and require treatment.

In addition, the DRC faces recurrent epidemics, such as cholera, measles, monkey pox and Ebola. Its weak health system and lack of basic infrastructure and social services, including in the health sector, add to the challenge.

The COVID-19 pandemic reached the DRC in March 2020. Natural hazards, such as the volcanic eruption of Mount Nyiragongo in 2021, create additional suffering and needs.

DRC country map

How are we helping?

In 2023, the EU allocated €47.2 million in humanitarian funding to address the needs of the most vulnerable people in the DRC.

Most of the EU-funded humanitarian projects are helping vulnerable people in the east of the country, where persistent conflict is ongoing. The EU works with partners to:

  • provide food assistance and nutrition, shelter, protection, emergency healthcare, including care for survivors of sexual violence
  • improve water, sanitation and hygiene conditions
  • ensure that children caught in humanitarian crises can go to school.

In March 2023, given the rapidly deteriorating situation in the east of the country, the EU set up a Humanitarian Air Bridge operation to Goma. Supported by France, it will deliver medical and nutritional supplies among other goods.

The EU’s support also allows humanitarian organisations with specific expertise in nutrition to work in areas that have alarming malnutrition levels, saving the lives of thousands of children.

In addition, the European Commission is providing €100 million in humanitarian assistance to support the rollout of vaccination campaigns in countries in Africa with critical humanitarian needs and fragile health systems

Last updated: 04/03/2023

Facts & figures

27 million people are severely food insecure.

5.6 million internally displaced people.

More than 1 million refugees from the DRC in neighbouring countries

Over 500,000 in the DRC

3.4 million children under 5 are malnourished (UNOCHA, UNHCR, and UNICEF)

EU humanitarian funding:
€47.2 million in 2023
Over €82 million in 2022