An upsurge in hostilities between government forces and rebel groups in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in 2008 led to a large-scale displacement of people in North Kivu.

The exodus raised the total number of people displaced to 1.5 million. The DEC raised £10.5 million after launching its appeal for the DR Congo on 20 November that year.

Millions of people are widely believed to have died as a result of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s bloody 14-year civil and regional war.

Many civilians were killed by combatants but most casualties succumbed to malnutrition and disease.

URGENT NEEDS

Following the increase in violence in late 2008, more than 100,000 people fled to Goma and gathered in displaced camps.

While some stayed in formal camps, many others lived with host families or clustered together in informal settlements.

Already very vulnerable due to years of conflict and poverty, they urgently needed shelter, food, clean water, clothes and healthcare.

Other urgent services needed by people included care for the many victims of rape, education for children, protection from further violence and help in rebuilding livelihoods.

Member agencies reached more than 220,000 households over the first nine months of the response, using 80 per cent of the funds raised, amid insecurity caused by ongoing conflict.

They helped people in both organised and spontaneous camps, as well as those staying with host families.

People went back to their villages where security improved, but often found their homes looted and burnt.

Poor and marginalised groups, like the Batwa (pygmies), remained particularly vulnerable.

Returning families and neglected groups have been assisted with packages of household items, seeds and tools. 

More than 1,400 separated children were reunited with their families between December 2008 and June 2009.

Continued fighting means large numbers of people in eastern Congo still face insecurity, displacement and death through diseases that could be prevented if the situation allowed more people to receive basic healthcare.