Conflicts of Volcanic Magnitude: The Democratic Republic of the Congo


“On est ensemble” — we are in it together. Everyone who has been to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has heard this sentence. “On est ensemble” … but are we?

It is very tempting to have positive spin on describing the humanitarian crisis in DRC to overcome the international “fatigue” in addressing humanitarian needs. But it is hard. There are very few ways to describe a really, really bad humanitarian crisis. DRC is a very large territory of land with over 20 million people facing systematic breaches of international law and inhumane child recruitment, systematic rape, torture, burning of villages, lack of food, forced displacements and evictions. The humanitarian crisis in DRC ranks amongst the worst five in the world on major indicators. “Fatigue”, when referring to the DRC, is only appropriate when describing the emotion of the girls, boys, women, and youth that are hit from every direction.

In such a context, humanitarian action should be indefatigable and supported for as long as people are left behind and alone.

In 2018, the DRC made its first peaceful transition of power since independence. Political momentum and humanitarian assistance have seen progress made on the stabilisation of many regions. Nonetheless, the severe humanitarian crisis
persists, fuelled by ruthless exploitation of natural resources, recurrent violence in the east, COVID-19, and regular natural shocks such as the recent volcano eruption that hit Goma.

When it comes to humanitarian action in DRC, we must stick to the fundamental basics and not get distracted out of the box. When it comes to victims and survivors’ assistance and support, let’s come back to the box. Let’s do it well. Let’s do it for as many people for as long it is needed.


David Winiger, Emma Wynne, William S. Chemaly (Global Protection Cluster)

Bikubusyo Alimasi Symphorien, (Centre de Recherche Jurisconsulte)

With the support of the Secretariat of the DRC INGO Forum


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