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Democratic Republic of Congo

Description of crisis:

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is the fourth most populous country in Africa with a population of over 71 million and covers an area of over 2.3 million km.  The Eastern part of the country has endured a large amount of instability in recent years which has cost the lives of an estimated 5.4 million people since 1998.  There was a particularly severe humanitarian crisis at the end of 2008 and early 2009 affecting hundreds of thousands of people in Kivu region.

DRC flag

Response:

In February 2009, the Scottish Government made emergency funding of £200,000 available from its International Development Fund in a bid to ease the suffering of the people caught up in the country's ongoing conflict.  £100,000 was given to Mercy Corps Scotland, and £50,000 each to CBM (formerly Christian Blind Mission) and Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF).

Mercy Corps provided water, sanitation and hygiene services in the effort to combat the spread of cholera and other diseases. CBM addressed the specialist needs of those with disabilities, who are often neglected in humanitarian relief efforts. SCIAF provided household commodities and medical kits, as well as working to address the issue of sexual violence, identifying those who have been subject to such abuse and providing counselling, support and medical care.  A summary of the projects is available as well as the news release.

DRC Map

Case Study: 

CBM – Support for families and internally displaced people

The project concentrated on the care of expectant mothers and children (under 5), access to health care in order to prevent/cure disabilities; and ensuring that persons with disabilities had access to specialised services  with a particular focus on children.

Funds were allocated to where they could have the largest impact and where the need was greatest – the majority was spent on care for pregnant mothers, feeding of mothers and malnourished children and sight restoring eye treatment and surgery, as these were felt to have the most pressing need.  The project enabled over 130 mothers to receive ante natal care and over 950 mothers and children to receive supplementary food as well as providing eye consultations to more than 760 people, making a real difference to their lives.

A total of 20 surgeries were conducted with Scottish Government funds.  Grace is 5 years old and had a neglected club foot, she received corrective surgery thanks to the Scottish Government funding. After the plasters are removed, she will be able to run around with her friends and be mobile enough to attend school independently. 

Kavira is a 15 year old female, she received burns on the left knee and ankle. The burns caused contractures, which tightened the skin causing problems with movement. After she has recovered from the surgery, Kavira’s mobility will be improved greatly.