U.N. sounds the alarm over 13 million in need of humanitarian aid in the Democratic Republic of Congo

A congolese woman.
(Image credit: JOHN WESSELS/AFP/Getty Images)

The Democratic Republic of Congo is facing a humanitarian crisis — and it is rapidly worsening.

Increased political turmoil has led to spikes in violence and millions of displaced people in the nation. Now, more than 13 million Congolese are in dire need of humanitarian aid, reports The Guardian — twice as many as in 2017. Food insecurity has increased 30 percent since last year, and more than 5 million people have been displaced by violent clashes between repressive government militia and rebel groups, the U.N. reports.

The DRC's president, Joseph Kabila, did not leave office when his term ended in December 2016, and protests calling for him to step down have ended in violence. Political unrest, combined with tensions between ethnic groups, have led many to fear that the DRC is on the brink of another civil war, less than two decades after a war that killed 5 million people, The Guardian reports.

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Humanitarian groups working in accessible regions say that sexual violence has also spiked. Doctors Without Borders — known in the DRC as Médecins Sans Frontières — says that wherever violence appears, systemic rape follows, and the organization has recorded twice as many incidents of sexual violence this year compared to the first three months of 2017.

The volatile situation is a complicated one, and Reuters reports that the Congolese have little faith that the upcoming election to replace Kabila will help. Read more at The Guardian.

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