Democratic Republic of Congo

Woman carrying water in dr congo

Since 2007, our work in DRC is empowering the most vulnerable Congolese people — who are facing an urgent humanitarian crisis — to overcome hardships and build resilience. In 2017 we reached more than 1.2 million people with emergency supplies, safe drinking water, addressing the root causes of conflict and build long-term food security and stability, job training and more.

Emergency update: Ebola outbreak in DRC

The current Ebola outbreak in DRC is now the worst in the country's history. As of July 15, there are more than 2,500 cases and 1,500 deaths. The World Health Organization has declared the Ebola outbreak in DRC a "Public Health Emergency of International Concern" (PHEIC). Previous PHEICs include Swine flu in 2009, Polio in 2014, Ebola in 2014 and the Zika virus in 2016.

“We hope that [this] declaration by the WHO will translate into urgent and practical action, including more funding from international donors,” said Laura Miller, Mercy Corps’ acting country director in DR Congo. “Every day, women, men and children are dying of the Ebola virus and it is becoming too easy to forget that the ever-climbing case numbers are people.”

Mercy Corps is responding at the epicentre of the outbreak in Beni, Butembo, Katwa, Komanda, Mandima, Musinene and Lubero, working on infection prevention and control in health facilities, schools and communities. We are also conducting health and hygiene education and communication campaign in health facilities, schools and other public spaces in collaboration with community organisations and leaders.

While an Ebola vaccine has been created, it is not licensed yet, which coupled with restricted access in the conflict-affected province of North Kivu, limits its usage.

The context

The people of the Democratic Republic of Congo face one of the world's most urgent humanitarian crises, particularly in in the east. The deadly combination of conflict and disease has created many challenges in their everyday lives.

Despite its vast human and natural resources, the country struggles with many challenges. A lack of infrastructure, stunted economy and weak governance cause serious hardship and inhibit development efforts. The two-decade long crisis in DRC has been highlighted as one of the most ignored and forgotten crises in the world.

The ongoing conflicts in Democratic Republic of Congo have displaced 4.5 million people within the country. Much of this displacement is happening in the northeastern area of the country, which faces frequent clashes between warring factions. Many civilians get caught in the crossfire, experiencing violence and threats. People trying to rebuild their lives deal with destroyed homes, an underdeveloped economy and poor public health.

Demographic pressures, rapid urbanisation, food insecurity and youth unemployment compound problems in DRC. According to the UN, 13.1 million people require urgent humanitarian assistance.

DRC is also currently experiencing its tenth Ebola outbreak, in the conflict-affected and densely populated province of North Kivu.

With all of these challenges, people in DRC have many varying needs. Those displaced by war need safe places to live. Those whose homes have been destroyed need resources to build new lives. Those suffering from disease need clean water.

That’s why we’re there. The Congolese people have always stood strong in the midst of emergencies. With integrated solutions that address the root causes of these problems, they can become more resilient than ever.

Our team

Mercy corps team member addressing a group in dr congo

Our team of more than 382 members in DRC are led by Country Director Jean-Philippe Marcoux. More than 335 of them are from Democratic Republic of Congo and understand first-hand the suffering and trauma that the people they work with have experienced. As members of the first organization in DRC to implement cash distributions, our team pioneered the use of electronic vouchers for food and other urgent needs.

Our impact

Our work in DRC addresses the urgent food and water needs of its people while making long-term investments in economic development. Here are some of our results to date:

  • In 2017 more than 1.2 million people benefitted from our work.
  • This year we will help more than 500,000 people meet their urgent needs.
  • We are helping 5,716 farming families access improved seeds and technologies.
  • Since 2013, we have improved hygiene practices for more than 661,436 people.
  • Since 2013, we have provided access to clean drinking water for more than 2,000 Congolese people.
  • Since 2013, we have provided more than 339,000 people with cash, infusing more than £3.8 million into local economies.
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