UN officials: 13 million in Congo need aid in major increase

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Top U.N. officials say the number of people needing humanitarian aid in Congo has increased dramatically in the past year to 13 million, including 7.5 million children.

Henrietta Fore, head of the U.N. children's agency UNICEF, told a news conference Monday that 4 million of those children are suffering from acute malnutrition, and over 1.4 million from severe acute malnutrition "which means that they are in imminent risk of death."

U.N. humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock, who just visited Congo with Fore, said the U.N. is appealing for $1.65 billion in humanitarian aid this year — more than double the $700 million plus that it raised last year.

He cited economic stresses, the turbulent political situation surrounding December's elections, violence, displacement, and the Ebola outbreak for the worsening humanitarian situation.