Escalating violence, displacement and disruption of aid delivery threaten hundreds of thousands of civilians in worsening DRC conflict, warns World Vision

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Escalating violence, displacement and disruption of aid delivery threaten hundreds of thousands of civilians in worsening DRC conflict, warns World Vision

GOMA, Democratic Republic of the Congo (February 22, 2024) — Global humanitarian organization World Vision warns that worsening violence in eastern DRC could spiral out of control and deepen an ongoing humanitarian crisis as the non-state armed group M23 advances toward Goma, the capital of North Kivu province.

The conflict, including M23’s recent incursion into the town of Sake, has already displaced hundreds of thousands of people. Urgent humanitarian aid is critically needed to meet the needs of these as well as newly displaced people, many of whom have fled to the city of Goma, approximately 25 kilometers from Sake.

Goma, currently under government control and a hub for aid agencies, is now increasingly isolated and at risk of coming under siege.  The city’s population, around 600,000 a few years ago, has swelled to over 2 million as people have fled violence in nearby towns and villages. Following the closure of the main road into the city from the west, humanitarian routes have been increasingly disrupted, and the hundreds of thousands of people displaced to Goma in recent years and days could now lose access to essential aid.

Women and children are most at risk, facing threats like sexual violence, exploitation and recruitment into armed groups.

“We saw women arriving in Goma from Sake and Masisi in panic because, in the chaos of fleeing, they had become separated from their children,” said David Munkley, World Vision’s zonal director for east DRC. “My heart breaks when I see youngsters arriving in overcrowded camps after walking for days. They told us that they had fled their homes without taking anything because shells were hitting their homes, killing and injuring civilians,” he continued.

“The escalating violence in Masisi and Rutshuru territories has further exacerbated this humanitarian crisis, with thousands of civilians displaced and in urgent need of shelter, food and medical care,” Munkley said. “World Vision is on the ground and providing aid to those in need, but more emergency aid is urgently needed to address this growing crisis.”

World Vision has been meeting the needs of displaced people in Goma since a surge in violence between DRC government forces and multiple opposition forces in March 2022. With the World Food Programme’s support, World Vision has distributed food ration bars to more than 40,000 people. But more aid is needed.

The international community must act swiftly. World Vision calls on governments, humanitarian agencies, and local communities to collaborate to address the needs of women and children and urges all parties to the conflict to protect women, children and civilians.

About World Vision:

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information, please visit or follow on X, formerly known as Twitter, @WorldVisionUSA.