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A young boy from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Photo: Jerome Delay / AP

There are at least 400,000 severely malnourished children under 5 years old living in the Democratic Republic of Congo who could die within months without emergency intervention, UNICEF warned today.

The gritty details: After 18 months of conflict, displaced people and poor harvests, these children in the Kasai region are the most vulnerable in a population of 750,000 acutely malnourished children in what some say could become the "biggest emergency of 2018."

"With so many humanitarian crises worldwide, the situation in DRC is at risk of being ignored while it develops into the biggest emergency of 2018." — Mohammed Abdiker, director of operations and emergencies at the International Organisation for Migration, said on Tuesday.

Driving the news: Violence, food insecurity and devastated health facilities have created a desperate climate in the Kasai region.

  • There have been ongoing fights between local rebel groups and government troups in the Kasai region after tribal chieftain and rebel Kamwina Nsapu was killed last year, Yahoo reports.
  • Due to this unrest as well as the everyday, ongoing violence in the African country, 3.9 million people have been displaced in DRC, according to the UN refugee report.
  • In addition, there's been a year and a half of poor agriculture — and having missed planting season, there is not likely to be a harvest in June.
  • About 220 health centers were destroyed, looted or damaged in Kasai, leading to reduced access to health care and an increased risk in the spread of communicable diseases, UNICEF says.

The big picture: DRC joins a growing list of humanitarian crises, including growing famine and disease in Yemen.

To help, donate to Unicef, Save the Children or Action Against Hunger.

Go deeper

Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin testifies before a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Sept. 29 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Olivier Douliery/Pool via Getty Images

The state of Oklahoma filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration on Thursday in an attempt to block the enforcement of its vaccine mandate for federal employees.

Why it matters: The move comes one day after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin denied Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt's (R) request to exempt the state's National Guard from the mandate.

Congress passes stopgap funding bill to avert shutdown

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Senate voted 69-28 to pass legislation Thursday night to fund the government until February 18.

Why it matters: The move staves off a government shutdown but lawmakers still have a busy month ahead: Congress needs to work out a deal to raise the debt ceiling in a few weeks and Democrats are trying to pass their behemoth social spending bill.

DiDi to delist from NYSE under Chinese govt pressure

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Chinese ride-hail giant DiDi said it will delist from the New York Stock Exchange, following a Chinese government crackdown on foreign listings.

Why it matters: This reflects how geopolitical tensions are bleeding into the capital markets.