KINSHASA (AFP) - Aid workers in the conflict-torn Democratic Republic of Congo said Thursday they will need nearly $900 million (673 million euros) to meet the needs of the population this year.
"The humanitarian community in the DRC launches an appeal for 892.6 million US dollars for its plan of action" for 2013, said a statement from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
The funds would help "respond to the needs of nearly 3.9 million people, living mainly in the provinces of the east which are subject to a succession of conflicts, epidemics, natural catastrophes," and which lack basic social services, the statement said.
The appeal, which amounts to an increase of 13 percent over last year, comes as contributions "have constantly decreased these last few years" and as the situation in the DRC remains "critical," it said.
In 2012, more than two million children under five years old suffered from acute malnutrition and around 3.6 million people received food aid.
OCHA said the country of 68 million people has around 2.7 million displaced people. In the southeastern region of Katanga, the number of displaced has increased five-fold, from 55,000 in January 2012 to more than 316,000 today.
In North Kivu province in the east, 500,000 people have fled fighting between the army and the M23 rebels, whom the UN charges are supported by neighbouring Rwanda and Uganda, which these countries deny.