Renewed fighting between the March 23 Movement (M23) and Congolese government forces has seen more than 340,000 people recently displaced and several towns become inaccessible to humanitarians due to active conflict. Despite the recent ceasefire, tensions remain high as outcomes of the Nairobi peace process remain uncertain.
INSO has recorded four incidents targeting NGOs during this most recent escalation in November 2022. Three of the four incidents verified by INSO were robberies of education centres supported by NGOs. There have also been unverified reports of health centres being looted.
“While we have reported three robbery cases of NGO-supported schools, there have been no confirmed incidents of deliberate violence toward aid workers as a result of this offensive. We are committed to helping NGOs navigate this developing situation by providing information that is verified and useful to them, and to remain operational and in the country for as long as it is safe to do so,” says Marc Sere de Rivieres, Country Director for INSO in DRC.
INSO continues to provide all safety services to its NGO partners from inside the country. These services include daily real-time alerts, reports, analysis, coordination meetings and training. In addition, INSO has hosted cross-border meetings with the humanitarian community.
“Hundreds of thousands of civilians have been forced to flee their homes and many are sheltering in makeshift, crowded camps. INSO stands ready to support the humanitarian community to explore ways to assist these people, and will continue to support NGOs to safely access communities across DRC,” says Marc.
The current escalation is just one of several crises in eastern DRC which threaten livelihoods and inhibit humanitarian access. Adding to risks emanating from armed conflicts, infectious diseases could affect people forced to flee or where health services are not available. Cases of cholera already recorded within displacement camps and the recent outbreak of Ebola in Uganda – while not a direct risk to the affected area for now – highlight the need for NGOs to be able to safely access communities to support prevention, preparedness and treatment activities, primarily in health and WASH sectors.
About INSO in the Democratic Republic of Congo
INSO’s humanitarian safety services are available free of charge to all operational humanitarian organisations. The Democratic Republic of Congo was INSO’s first platform outside of Afghanistan. Today, we cover four of the country’s eastern provinces: Ituri, North Kivu, South Kivu, and Tanganyika. Our work is supported by USAID’s Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance, the European Commission, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).