Escalating conflict in eastern DRC raises concerns for civilian safety and humanitarian access
February 12, 2024
February 12, 2024
Humanity & Inclusion joins its fellow member organizations of the International NGO Forum in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in raising an alarm about the serious consequences of the escalation of the conflict in eastern DRC for the security and lives of civilians and humanitarian access, particularly in the territories of Masisi, Rutshuru and Nyiragongo in North Kivu.
Since November 2023, clashes between government forces (FARDC) and the M23 have led to the displacement of more than 1 million people, compounding the already disastrous humanitarian crisis with 2.4 million additional displaced people in North Kivu. In recent weeks, NGOs have witnessed a worrying escalation in the intensity of fighting and means of warfare, with heavy artillery and mortar attacks on civilian settlements and densely populated areas, including Goma's outskirts, causing a heavy toll on civilian lives and infrastructure.
The conflict has triggered mass displacements in several localities, exacerbating the vulnerability of internally displaced people and host communities. The main roads around Goma and Sake, crucial for the movement of civilians and humanitarian aid, have become impassable due to intensified fighting, further restricting access to essential services. Residents of affected areas are leaving their homes. People living in displacement sites are moving again. Health centers are empty.
Disturbing reports of targeted killings, enforced disappearances and harassment of civilians by parties to the conflict underline the deteriorating situation, with international NGOs forced to suspend their activities in affected areas due to the loss of humanitarian access. Lifesaving assistance to tens of thousands of people is currently suspended due to the situation.
Members of the International NGO Forum in the Democratic Republic of Congo reiterate their commitment to supporting the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo during this difficult period and call on the international community to join forces to end the suffering of those affected by the conflict.
Get the latest news about Humanity & Inclusion's work delivered straight to your inbox.