The UN's special envoy to the Democratic Republic of Congo sounded the alarm Tuesday over hunger and recurring epidemics in the violence-hit African country.
Bintou Keita told the United Nations Security Council that "food insecurity and cyclic epidemics are major concerns" in the DRC, expressing her concern as well over persistent violence in the east of the country.
"More than 26 million Congolese, or 29 percent of the population, suffer from food insecurity," she said.
"The security situation and access constraints in the east of the country continue to hamper humanitarian operations in a context where one in three people need assistance," the UN official added, citing attacks on schools and hospitals.
An estimated 122 armed groups of varying sizes operate in mineral-rich eastern DRC, many a legacy of regional wars in the 1990s.
Keita highlighted that, with more than five million internally displaced people, the country "has the highest number of displaced people on the African continent."
She urged UN member states to boost their contributions to the 2021 humanitarian response plan, which calls for $1.98 billion and is so far just over a quarter funded.
In the meeting, Nigeria's UN ambassador Abdou Abarry, who is chair of the UN committee on DRC sanctions, said he and other members would travel to the country on November 5-10 to verify the implementation of sanctions on the ground, meet with Congolese authorities and visit the UN's MONUSCO peacekeeping mission.
MONUSCO, made up of some 16,000 military and police personnel, is one of the UN's priciest peacekeeping operations, with an annual budget of more than $1 billion. Its mandate is up for renewal in December.