17th January, 2018
More than three million people in Congo’s troubled Kasai region are at risk of severe food shortage, with hundreds of thousands of children suffering acute malnutrition, three UN agencies warned on Wednesday.
A statement by Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) UNICEF and World Food Programme (WFP) in Kinshasa on Wednesday noted that many farmers were unable to produce because of conflicts in the region.
UNICEF’s representative in Congo, Tajudeen Oyewale, said children were particularly affected by food shortages.
He added that “at least 400,000 children under five years have severe, acute malnutrition.
“They are likely to die unless they urgently receive health, water, sanitation and nutrition support.
“Longer-term food security must be restored and feeding and care practices improved so that children can have access to the quality food they need.”
The statement noted that the fact that villages were razed and hundreds of thousands of people were displaced made it hard for the people to resume food production.
Numerous rebel groups are active in Congo, primarily fighting over the country’s rich mineral resources, while Kasai and Kivu are particularly affected.
The UN peacekeeping mission MONUSCO had been in Congo since 2010 and had over 16,000 military personnel deployed to the country.
Congo is set to hold-long overdue elections in December after President Joseph Kabila postponed a vote scheduled for November 2016.