DR Congo

Emergency alert

DRC is currently facing the worst Ebola outbreak in the country's history. We're on the ground now delivering urgently needed supplies.

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  • Photo: Miguel Samper for Mercy Corps

UPDATE: Our response to the Ebola outbreak in DRC

The current Ebola outbreak in DRC is now the worst in the country's history. As of January 8, there are 628 cases and 383 deaths.

We are working to help communities near the epicenter of the epidemic to prevent the spread of the disease. Our emergency teams are distributing hygiene kits and hand-washing stations for health facilities in Musienene, Lubero, Beni and Butembo in North Kivu. We're also repairing water points and latrines as well as conducting health and hygiene education in health facilities, schools and other public spaces.

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.

We are preparing to significantly scale up our Ebola response in the coming weeks, doubling the number of emergency response teams and expanding beyond North Kivu to Ituri province. The World Health Organization recently warned that the risk of the virus spreading at the national and regional level is very high. Read our full statement here ▸

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The context

The Democratic Republic of Congo hosts one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, centered particularly in the east. Despite its vast wealth of 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.

Over two decades of armed conflict has displaced 4.3 million people within the country. The province of North Kivu hosts a quarter of the internally displaced population, and has become a perpetually insecure and hostile environment.

Demographic pressures, rapid urbanization, food insecurity and youth unemployment compound looming threats on the horizon. The UN reports that 13.1 million people require urgent humanitarian assistance.

  • 9.9 million people are severely food insecure
  • More than 2 million children suffer from severe acute malnutrition
  • 6.4 million people are at risk of epidemics, including 4.8 million people who are vulnerable to cholera

Our work

Mercy Corps is responding to the emergency needs of internally displaced people and host communities and strengthening their resilience to recurring stresses and shocks.

  • Emergency response: Providing cash assistance so people can prioritize their own immediate basic needs.
  • Water, sanitation and hygiene: Providing access to safe drinking water for more than 1.5 million displaced and conflict-affected people. Organizing chlorination of communal water sources. Building familial and public latrines. Improving knowledge and practice of basic hygiene behaviors.
  • Education and protection: Facilitating the reintegration of 3,000 displaced out-of-school children into local schools. Training local teachers on trauma and psychosocial support.
  • Food security: Addressing the root causes of food insecurity by increasing the production of smallholder farmers and reducing malnutrition.
  • Economic opportunity: Supporting sustainable livelihood development of small farmers. Promoting links between value chain actors.