Gugu Mbatha-Raw Says 'Urgent Funding' Is Needed for Millions Displaced in Democratic Republic of the Congo

Kalehe, South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo. UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Gugu Mbatha-Raw visits a resettlement site in Kahele, Democratic Replublic of the Congo. Gugu sits with Vicky and her family in the resettlement site in Kahele who have the difficult choice of which child to send to school as they cannot afford to send all of them. Those pictured wearing shirts attend school. The mother, Vicky, was never able to go to school herself and wishes she had. One of her sons has an issue with his eye which they cannot afford to get medics to look at. Vicky, alongside all the residents of this site are here because their village, a four hour walk away, flooded when a river burst its banks. ; The Democratic Republic of the Congo hosts one of the most complex humanitarian crises in the world, with 520,000 refugees and asylum-seekers and 5.6 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), the largest internal displacement crisis in Africa. In addition, more than 1 million Congolese refugees and asylum-seekers are sheltered across the African continent. Around 76% of the population live in poverty and 27 million people are food insecure. For such a dire and long-running crisis, the humanitarian response is severely underfunded, at only 33% of the $225 million in UNHCR’s needs-based budget, as of the end of August 2022. Some of these costs could be avoided in future if there were funds now to help refugees in the country, and Congolese refugees outside the country, to return to their place of origin. For IDPs, underfunding has put protection (including women’s empowerment) and shelter (sustainable housing and settlements) at critical risk. Currently, only 33% of the operations in DRC are funded, with a $151 million funding gap.
Kalehe, South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo. UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Gugu Mbatha-Raw visits a resettlement site in Kahele, Democratic Replublic of the Congo. Gugu sits with Vicky and her family in the resettlement site in Kahele who have the difficult choice of which child to send to school as they cannot afford to send all of them. Those pictured wearing shirts attend school. The mother, Vicky, was never able to go to school herself and wishes she had. One of her sons has an issue with his eye which they cannot afford to get medics to look at. Vicky, alongside all the residents of this site are here because their village, a four hour walk away, flooded when a river burst its banks. ; The Democratic Republic of the Congo hosts one of the most complex humanitarian crises in the world, with 520,000 refugees and asylum-seekers and 5.6 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), the largest internal displacement crisis in Africa. In addition, more than 1 million Congolese refugees and asylum-seekers are sheltered across the African continent. Around 76% of the population live in poverty and 27 million people are food insecure. For such a dire and long-running crisis, the humanitarian response is severely underfunded, at only 33% of the $225 million in UNHCR’s needs-based budget, as of the end of August 2022. Some of these costs could be avoided in future if there were funds now to help refugees in the country, and Congolese refugees outside the country, to return to their place of origin. For IDPs, underfunding has put protection (including women’s empowerment) and shelter (sustainable housing and settlements) at critical risk. Currently, only 33% of the operations in DRC are funded, with a $151 million funding gap.

UNHCR/Caroline Irby

Actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw is requesting "urgent support" for millions people who've been displaced in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) after visiting the Central African country last week.

The Surface star, 39, says "urgent funding" is needed to address the pressing needs of the country's displaced population, according to a press release from UNHCR, the United Nations' Refugee Agency.

Mbatha-Raw, who serves as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR, says she is "extremely concerned" after connecting with those displaced by conflict, cost of living, climate change, and other crises unfolding in the DRC.

Many people, she adds, "don't have enough shelter, food or clean water to survive."

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"First, they were forced to flee unimaginable violence, and now, due to severe underfunding and shrinking life-saving assistance, they are forced to make impossible choices that no one should have to make," Mbatha-Raw says.

"As the situation worsens, women and girls are also at greater risk of violence," she continues. "We cannot allow this to continue."

Kalehe, South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo. UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Gugu Mbatha-Raw visits a resettlement site in Kahele, Democratic Replublic of the Congo. Gugu meets with Cadette, pregnant with her seventh child, inside her home in a resettlement site in Kahele. She lives here in a small house with two rooms with her six children, her grandmother, and her seven siblings who she looks after too. She lost her parents a long time ago. One of the many difficult choices she has to make is between food and patching up her house. She has chosen food. Cadette, along with all the residents of this site, are here because of their village, a four hour walk away, flooded when a river burst its banks. ; The Democratic Republic of the Congo hosts one of the most complex humanitarian crises in the world, with 520,000 refugees and asylum-seekers and 5.6 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), the largest internal displacement crisis in Africa. In addition, more than 1 million Congolese refugees and asylum-seekers are sheltered across the African continent. Around 76% of the population live in poverty and 27 million people are food insecure. For such a dire and long-running crisis, the humanitarian response is severely underfunded, at only 33% of the $225 million in UNHCR’s needs-based budget, as of the end of August 2022. Some of these costs could be avoided in future if there were funds now to help refugees in the country, and Congolese refugees outside the country, to return to their place of origin. For IDPs, underfunding has put protection (including women’s empowerment) and shelter (sustainable housing and settlements) at critical risk. Currently, only 33% of the operations in DRC are funded, with a $151 million funding gap.
Kalehe, South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo. UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Gugu Mbatha-Raw visits a resettlement site in Kahele, Democratic Replublic of the Congo. Gugu meets with Cadette, pregnant with her seventh child, inside her home in a resettlement site in Kahele. She lives here in a small house with two rooms with her six children, her grandmother, and her seven siblings who she looks after too. She lost her parents a long time ago. One of the many difficult choices she has to make is between food and patching up her house. She has chosen food. Cadette, along with all the residents of this site, are here because of their village, a four hour walk away, flooded when a river burst its banks. ; The Democratic Republic of the Congo hosts one of the most complex humanitarian crises in the world, with 520,000 refugees and asylum-seekers and 5.6 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), the largest internal displacement crisis in Africa. In addition, more than 1 million Congolese refugees and asylum-seekers are sheltered across the African continent. Around 76% of the population live in poverty and 27 million people are food insecure. For such a dire and long-running crisis, the humanitarian response is severely underfunded, at only 33% of the $225 million in UNHCR’s needs-based budget, as of the end of August 2022. Some of these costs could be avoided in future if there were funds now to help refugees in the country, and Congolese refugees outside the country, to return to their place of origin. For IDPs, underfunding has put protection (including women’s empowerment) and shelter (sustainable housing and settlements) at critical risk. Currently, only 33% of the operations in DRC are funded, with a $151 million funding gap.

UNHCR/Caroline Irby

During her DRC trip, Mbatha-Raw was able to witness many of the hardships facing the country's displaced population. During her visit, the Loki star met with a woman named Vicky, who has been displaced and is regularly forced to make tough choices such as whether food or medicine is more important, according to the press release.

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Mbatha-Raw also got a chance to see the help currently being offered to people of the DRC. At one point, the actress visited with women and girls who survived sexual violence to learn how systems set up to support them "were enabling them to rebuild their lives," per Tuesday's release.

But there is still much more aid that can be provided to the DRC, according to the U.N.

Kalehe, South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo. UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Gugu Mbatha-Raw visits a resettlement site in Kahele, Democratic Replublic of the Congo. Gugu sits with Vicky and her family in the resettlement site in Kahele who have the difficult choice of which child to send to school as they cannot afford to send all of them. Those pictured wearing shirts attend school. The mother, Vicky, was never able to go to school herself and wishes she had. One of her sons has an issue with his eye which they cannot afford to get medics to look at. Vicky, alongside all the residents of this site are here because their village, a four hour walk away, flooded when a river burst its banks. ; The Democratic Republic of the Congo hosts one of the most complex humanitarian crises in the world, with 520,000 refugees and asylum-seekers and 5.6 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), the largest internal displacement crisis in Africa. In addition, more than 1 million Congolese refugees and asylum-seekers are sheltered across the African continent. Around 76% of the population live in poverty and 27 million people are food insecure. For such a dire and long-running crisis, the humanitarian response is severely underfunded, at only 33% of the $225 million in UNHCR’s needs-based budget, as of the end of August 2022. Some of these costs could be avoided in future if there were funds now to help refugees in the country, and Congolese refugees outside the country, to return to their place of origin. For IDPs, underfunding has put protection (including women’s empowerment) and shelter (sustainable housing and settlements) at critical risk. Currently, only 33% of the operations in DRC are funded, with a $151 million funding gap.
Kalehe, South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo. UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Gugu Mbatha-Raw visits a resettlement site in Kahele, Democratic Replublic of the Congo. Gugu sits with Vicky and her family in the resettlement site in Kahele who have the difficult choice of which child to send to school as they cannot afford to send all of them. Those pictured wearing shirts attend school. The mother, Vicky, was never able to go to school herself and wishes she had. One of her sons has an issue with his eye which they cannot afford to get medics to look at. Vicky, alongside all the residents of this site are here because their village, a four hour walk away, flooded when a river burst its banks. ; The Democratic Republic of the Congo hosts one of the most complex humanitarian crises in the world, with 520,000 refugees and asylum-seekers and 5.6 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), the largest internal displacement crisis in Africa. In addition, more than 1 million Congolese refugees and asylum-seekers are sheltered across the African continent. Around 76% of the population live in poverty and 27 million people are food insecure. For such a dire and long-running crisis, the humanitarian response is severely underfunded, at only 33% of the $225 million in UNHCR’s needs-based budget, as of the end of August 2022. Some of these costs could be avoided in future if there were funds now to help refugees in the country, and Congolese refugees outside the country, to return to their place of origin. For IDPs, underfunding has put protection (including women’s empowerment) and shelter (sustainable housing and settlements) at critical risk. Currently, only 33% of the operations in DRC are funded, with a $151 million funding gap.

UNHCR/Caroline Irby

A recent UNHCR report states that funding for "lifesaving" programs in the DRC and other countries "is not matching the growing needs" of the people, according Tuesday's release.

Only 42% of the $225 million required to support programs for displaced people in the DRC has been funded, per the report.

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Now, Mbatha-Raw is calling on international governments, the private sector and others "to meet the most pressing needs of those displaced" in the DRC.

"In the same way that the world has shown solidarity and compassion to those displaced by other crises, including the war in Ukraine, we must now unite to support those in the DRC and other underfunded emergencies," Mbatha-Raw said.