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Conflict and COVID-19 drive hunger to record levels in Congo

CoronavirusApr 06, 2021 09:05AM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A girl carries cassava leaves on her back as she walks back home from the field in Beni

GENEVA (Reuters) - A record 27.3 million people in Democratic Republic of Congo, or about one-third of its population, are suffering from acute hunger, largely because of conflict and the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United Nations said on Tuesday.

The figure makes Congo home to the most people needing urgent food assistance in the world, the World Food Programme (WFP) and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in a joint statement.

Besides conflict and the 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 country representative, 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 worst-hit areas were in the eastern provinces of Ituri, North Kivu, South Kivu and Tanganyika, as well as the central Kasai provinces, all of which have been affected by conflict.

People forced by fighting to flee their home have returned to find their crops destroyed. Some have been surviving by eating only taro, a root that grows wild, or cassava leaves boiled in water, the statement said.

Militia violence has persisted in Congo for decades, particularly in the eastern borderlands with Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda, despite the official end to a civil war in 2003.

Of the 27.3 million going hungry, about 6.7 million people were in the 'emergency' phase, which is the last one before famine, an analysis by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) found.

Conflict and COVID-19 drive hunger to record levels in Congo
 

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Melanie Johnson
Melanie Johnson 4 hours ago
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𝚓𝚞𝚜𝚝 𝚌𝚑𝚎𝚌𝚔 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚕𝚒𝚗𝚔 𝚒𝚏 𝚢𝚘𝚞 𝚊𝚛𝚎 𝚒𝚗𝚝𝚎𝚛𝚎𝚜𝚝𝚎𝚍 𝚒𝚗 𝚎𝚊𝚛𝚗𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝚢𝚘𝚞𝚛 𝚏𝚒𝚛𝚜𝚝 $ 1𝚖 𝚒𝚗 90 𝚍𝚊𝚢𝚜 𝚞𝚜𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝚘𝚞𝚛 𝚙𝚛𝚘𝚙𝚛𝚒𝚎𝚝𝚊𝚛𝚢 𝚖𝚘𝚗𝚎𝚢 𝚜𝚢𝚜𝚝𝚎𝚖. 𝚒𝚝'𝚜 𝚏𝚛𝚎𝚎 𝚝𝚘 𝚞𝚜𝚎 𝚊𝚗𝚍 𝚢𝚘𝚞 𝚌𝚊𝚗 𝚛𝚎𝚌𝚎𝚒𝚟𝚎 𝚢𝚘𝚞𝚛 𝚏𝚒𝚛𝚜𝚝 𝚌𝚘𝚖𝚖𝚒𝚜𝚜𝚒𝚘𝚗 𝚙𝚊𝚢𝚖𝚎𝚗𝚝 𝚠𝚒𝚝𝚑𝚒𝚗 24 𝚑𝚘𝚞𝚛𝚜. 𝚊𝚌𝚝𝚒𝚟𝚊𝚝𝚎 𝚑𝚎𝚛𝚎: 𝗍𝗋𝖾𝗇𝖻𝖺𝗌.𝗀𝖺
 
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