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Case Studies | October 1, 2015

Early warning systems in central DR of Congo

Saving lives through faster emergency response

In June 2004, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was shaken by widespread crises, notably in the East of the country. To ensure that response organizations had the financial and material means to react quickly, the humanitarian community implemented a Rapid Response Mechanism program in October 2004.

Despite this pre-positioning, emergency response was not as rapid as intended, with news of local crises often taking months to reach the humanitarian community. Assistance was often late, poorly adapted to the local context, and uncoordinated, resulting in inefficient use of limited resources. The lack of an early warning mechanism or mitigation strategy in high-risk areas left affected communities in a cyclical state of extreme poverty.

An analysis led by UNICEF and CRS in 2010 revealed that information wasn’t circulating because of a lack of communications technology, the absence of structured circuits for emergency information transmission to policy makers and the lack of local involvement in managing humanitarian crises. To address the situation, UNICEF and CRS implemented an Early Warning System (EWS) in three provinces with at-risk populations. This case study shares the results of the EWS in the areas targeted for intervention



  • Report team

  • Abbreviations and acronyms

  • Context

  • The early warning system

  • Results

  • Case studies

  • Conclusions and recommendations

  • Map 1: Democratic Republic of Congo

  • Map 2: Zones of intervention

  • Map 3: Western Kasai zones of intervention

  • Map 4: Eastern Kasai zones of intervention

  • Map 5: Katanga zones of intervention

  • Figure 1: Process map

  • Table 1: Info on zones of intervention

  • Table 2: Results in Katanga, Kasai Occidental and Kasai Oriental 

  • Table 3: Info on provinces where EWS are established

  • Annex 1: Description of situation in Western Kasai

  • Annex 2: Description of situation in Eastern Kasai

  • Annex 3: Description of situation in Katanga