6 August 2018. CARE International is deeply concerned about a new Ebola virus outbreak in the North East of D.R.Congo, risking the lives of 300,000 Congolese. 37 cases, including 22 deaths, have been reported so far. Even though this is the tenth Ebola outbreak in the country since 1976, this time fears for an unprecedented expansion rise. “The proximity of the affected area to Uganda is highly alarming. Many people are moving between the borders on a daily basis. If we want to prevent another wave of deaths, precautions need to be taken urgently in both countries”, says Tom Friedeberg, CARE’s Country Director in DRC.
A surge in violent conflict and inter-communal tensions especially in the East of the country have already put extreme pressure on the population and forced thousands Congolese to flee their homes since 2017. “The Ebola outbreak could not happen at a worse time. People are suffering from violence outbreaks due to the ongoing conflict and are often forced to flee their homes. This makes them even more vulnerable to the disease, and multiplies the risk for the disease to spread”, says Friedeberg.
After years of experience in responding to Ebola virus outbreaks, the country knows how to diagnose and control the disease. However, local health facilities are understaffed and the access to medical supplies and specialized equipment remain among the most urgent challenges.
CARE released 200,000 USD to scale up its response focusing on the prevention of the Ebola virus into other parts of the country. “CARE works in Mufwanga, close to the affected area. We are currently assessing existing health facilities to identify their needs and quickly start responding. We need to do everything we can to stop the expansion of the virus”, says Friedeberg. In addition, CARE’s team in DRC is planning to distribute hygiene items, such as aqua tabs, soap and other sanitation goods including self-protection equipment to people living in the Beni territory.
CARE has been working in DRC since 1994, initially responding to a refugee crisis following the Rwandan genocide. Prioritizing the prevention of the Ebola expansion, our team in DRC will continue monitoring closely the situation of those affected and especially of women and girls, as conditions are expected to deteriorate further in the coming weeks.
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