A record 27.3 million people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are facing acute hunger, one-third of the violence-wracked Central African country’s population, largely because of conflict and the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United Nations has warned.
The DRC is “home to the highest number of people in urgent need of food security assistance in the world,” the World Food Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization said on Tuesday in a joint statement, describing the scale of the crisis as “staggering”.
Besides conflict and the coronavirus pandemic, the number also rose because the latest analysis covered more people than previous ones.
“For the first time ever we were able to analyse the vast majority of the population, and this has helped us to come closer to the true picture of the staggering scale of food insecurity in the DRC,” Peter Musoko, WFP’s representative in the country, said.
“This country should be able to feed its population and export a surplus. We cannot have children going to bed hungry and families skipping meals for an entire day,” he said.
The WFP said it needed $662m this year to avoid plunging millions of people in desperate need of aid further into hunger.