JOINT PRESS RELEASE
Kinshasa, 14th July 2014. The European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) is continuing its engagement alongside the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in the fight against malnutrition in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) by providing 3.6 million euros of financial support as well 6 million euros of support for the Rapid Response to Population Movements (RRMP).
‘It is essential to continue our joint efforts in emergency response in order to enable all children to grow up in a dignified manner and to realise their potential, especially in zones affected by the crisis,’ said Andrea Koulaimah, Head of Unit in Central Africa, Sudan and South Sudan for ECHO.
RRMP, for which ECHO is the main donor, is co-managed by UNICEF and OCHA and is a tool for evaluating humanitarian needs and rapid and multi-sector response in support of populations in a crisis situation. This renewed partnership will contribute towards reaching more than 1.21 million people through multi-sector analysis and emergency support in the areas of health, essential household items, water, sanitation and education in emergency situations. Actions will target children and their families affected by displacement or returning home as the result of an armed conflict, a natural disaster or a cholera epidemic.
Since February 2012, the cumulative activities of RRMP have reached more than 4.1 million beneficiaries in North-Kivu, Maniema, South-Kivu, Orientale Province and Katanga. In 2013, RRMP aid represented 60% of the total aid for essential household items in the provinces targeted. In March 2014, the number of people displaced in the interior of the DRC was estimated to be 2.63 million, principally in the Eastern provinces and in Katanga, areas affected by armed conflicts.
According to Barbara Bentein, UNICEF Representative in the DRC: ‘The DRC is undergoing a transition period, in that child mortality of the under-fives has fallen by 30% since 2007, but for too many of them life continues to be affected by crisis situations linked to violence or structural vulnerabilities. All children must be able to benefit from their right to survive, to adequate growth and to a harmonious development.’
Rapid response to food crises takes place in healthcare zones where the level of acute malnutrition exceeds emergency thresholds. This renewed partnership will enable at least 15,000 children under 5 years old suffering from severe acute malnutrition to be treated and to continue with the rapid response mechanism which has already enabled 26,000 children to be treated urgently between June 2013 and May 2014.
In 2013, 257,000 cases of severe acute malnutrition were treated with the support of, among others, ECHO; however it is estimated to be 13% of the total number of affected children that year. This new partnership is extremely welcome in the DRC where 1.9 million under-fives are affected by severe acute malnutrition, a condition which can be fatal if not treated quickly.
Rapid response to food crises has three components: nutritional surveillance of vulnerable groups (under-fives, pregnant women and nursing mothers) via the Ministry of Health National Nutrition Department’s (PRONANUT) surveillance system; treatment of cases of severe, acute malnutrition in emergency areas by the Italian NGO COOPI (Cooperazione Internazionale) and coordination of interventions.
UNICEF promotes the rights and well-being of every child in everything that we do. With our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to turn this engagement into tangible action with particular emphasis on the most vulnerable and marginalised children, for the good of all children everywhere.
The European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) finances humanitarian operations for victims of natural disasters or conflicts throughout the world. ECHO’s humanitarian aid is built upon the principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence. It aims to help, without exception, those who have the most need, irrespective of their nationality, religion, gender, ethnic origin or political affiliation. ECHO is one of UNICEF’s key donors.
For more information please contact:
Cornelia Walther, Chief of Communication /UNICEF Kinshasa, +243 991 00 63 07, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Eric Alain Ategbo, Nutrition Project/UNICEF Kinshasa, +243 818803005, email@example.com
Anna Orlandini, Coordinator RRMP/UNICEF Goma, +243 (0) 818305969, firstname.lastname@example.org
Yorgos Kapranis, Office Head/ ECHO Kinshasa, +243 (0)81 556 74 10, email@example.com
We invite you to visit the following sites:
UNICEF-EU web portal: http://www.unicef.org/eu/
Photo: UNICEF DRC 2013 Brett Morton
Post translated from French by Daphne Wood