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Season B begins against a backdrop of escalating conflict in eastern DRC

  • Key Message Update
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • March 2024
Season B begins against a backdrop of escalating conflict in eastern DRC

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Despite the resumption of regional diplomatic peace initiatives in the DRC, clashes between various armed groups are intensifying. In North Kivu, despite ongoing operations by the FARDC, M23 continues to gain new territory; in Ituri, rebel groups are continuing to massacre local populations. This violence continues to cause new population displacements. According to OCHA, by the end of March, the province of North Kivu had registered more than 2.6 million displaced persons, bringing the national total to around 6.8 million. Newly displaced populations who have lost access to their typical livelihoods are now facing acute food insecurity alongside the already food-insecure host population.
    • Current agro-climatic conditions contrast with a good agricultural season. Several provinces are experiencing delayed rains and unusually strong heat waves. According to the national meteorological service, METTELSAT, heavy rainfall is forecasted for the coming days, which could delay sowing by one or two weeks or cause flooding in some areas. Since November 2023, the country has experienced major flooding, affecting 2.1 million people. These floods, which recur throughout the agricultural season, lead to low household participation in agricultural production and result in consecutive below-average harvests. 
    • According to the Banque Centrale du Congo (BCC), the Congolese franc continues to depreciate and has dropped by 26.2 percent over the past year. At the same time, the prices of staple food items are rising, especially imported products. In March 2024, available price data shows significant increases in the price of maize flour (6.8 and 36.3 percent compared with the same period last year and the five-year average) and cassava flour (22.9 and 47.01 percent, respectively). This situation has negatively impacted poor households' access to food.
    • Season B crop production is resuming this month. Household stocks are already being depleted, mainly in conflict zones (Ituri, North Kivu, and South Kivu), with a possible increase in the number of people in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) in inaccessible territories with a high presence of displaced persons (Djugu, Masisi). Flooded areas in the central basin, notably Equateur province, are also in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). On the other hand, the central-northern, central, and central-southern provinces, where households have better access to food due to the latest harvests, are in Stressed (IPC Phase 2), which extends over a large part of the country. Haut Katanga, which generally has an agricultural production deficit and relies on supplies from neighboring countries to make up the shortfall, will likely remain in Stressed (IPC Phase 2). The western provinces (Kongo Central, Kwango) and southeastern provinces (Haut-Lomami and Lualaba), which have not experienced major shocks and where most households do not have food consumption gaps, will remain in Minimal (IPC Phase 1).

    Recommended citation: FEWS NET. Democratic Republic of Congo Key Message Update March 2024: Season B begins against a backdrop of escalating conflict in eastern DRC, 2024.

    This Key Message Update provides a high-level analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography. Learn more here.

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