As new Ebola outbreaks emerge in the DRC and Guinea, the IRC calls for swift action and funding for frontline aid agencies to stop the spread

PUBLISHED: Mon, 15 Feb 2021 13:34:47 GMT

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Download logoAs a fourth case of Ebola is confirmed in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the International Rescue Committee (IRC) is extremely concerned that another Ebola outbreak in the area will devastate a community still reeling from the last outbreak, fighting COVID-19 and seeing increasing violence and food insecurity. The last outbreak in this area was declared over less than a year ago and took the lives of more than 2,200 people, almost 66% of those who presented with the virus. The response was extremely challenging due to ongoing conflict in the area, and the outbreak lasted more than two years. Beating Ebola in North Kivu now will be doubly complicated given the impacts of COVID-19. As another Ebola outbreak is also declared in Guinea, where the 2014-2016 West Africa outbreak began, the IRC is calling for swift action and direct funding to frontline aid agencies to put an end to both outbreaks. Kate Moger, Regional Vice President for the Great Lakes at the IRC, said, “Another outbreak in North Kivu is a disaster. We cannot stress enough how difficult this will be for the people living in the province. They have faced decades of violence by armed groups and have now, between Ebola and COVID-19, been faced with disease outbreaks for almost three straight years. These communities are still trying to rebuild from the impact the last Ebola outbreak had on their health systems, as well as the emotional trauma from an increase in violence, particularly against women – all whilst fighting COVID-19. The COVID pandemic has further exacerbated an already dire situation and led to a major increase in food insecurity and even more conflict. Another Ebola outbreak on top of this is catastrophic. “It is imperative we apply the lessons learned from past outbreaks to stop the spread of Ebola in both the DRC and Guinea. The IRC stands in solidarity with the affected communities and is calling for immediate action and funding for frontline aid agencies to contain both outbreaks and prevent further spread.”  There are now more people facing a severe hunger crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo than has ever been recorded in any country. DRC ranks in the IRC’s emergency Watchlist top five for the third year in a row, reflecting persistent volatility in a country that is now in its fourth decade of a major humanitarian crisis.Distributed by APO Group on behalf of International Rescue Committee.