The humanitarian situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo has been devastating since years. Although the civil war officially ended in 2003, there have been repeated attacks on villages, massacres by rebels and kidnappings of civilians. Regarding security and supplies, the situation remains precarious. The flare-up violence in the Kasai region has displaced hundreds of thousands of people. Sexual assaults - especially against women and girls - are systematically used as a weapon of war to destabilise communities. More than 3.8 million IDPs were waiting in 2017 in refugee camps or host families for an end to violence.
Johanniter has presence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 1995 and focuses on local health services, which are supported despite fighting and displacement. In the Mugunga I, III and Lac Vert refugee camps, we have provided medical care for 10,000 displaced people in recent years. Now we are mainly rehabilitating health centres in North-Kivu, to which displaced people also have access. The facilities are supplied with medicines and medical equipment and the staff has to be supported financially and professionally.
Despite its abundance of natural resources and raw materials such as gold, coltan and diamonds, DR Congo is one of the ten poorest countries in the world. Years of mismanagement, illegal mining, corruption and violent conflicts have left the country in a deep crisis. Hunger is omnipresent for people. Democratic elections were postponed several times in the last years.
Malnutrition and inadequate medical care claim human lives every day: Every second death is because of contaminated drinking water, lack of vaccines or inappropriate treatment of fever, malaria or diarrhoea. In recent years, Johanniter has surrounded almost 100 natural drinking water sources and protected them from contamination. Particularly children are victims of the precarious conditions. The mortality rate for children under five years is 91 per 1,000 live births, in Germany the rate is 4 per 1,000.
Sexual violence is systematically used as a weapon in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Hundreds of women and girls are raped every day. Within the health stations in North-Kivu, our staff take care of the survivors of these attacks, treat injuries, offer HIV and pregnancy tests and - if required - support them in the legal processing of the cases. In addition to alleviating physical and psychological injuries, the aim is a minimum of justice for them.