This Revised Emergency Appeal is triggered due to the current situation of the resurgence of the Ebola Virus in Biena, Butembo Territory in North Kivu Province, and seeks further support that will help contain the outbreak quickly. The operation time frame is also to be extended to 30 September 2021, given the minimum surveillance period required even if the transmission is quickly ended.
The first suspected patient was admitted to a health centre in Biena before being referred to the Matanda hospital in Butembo where she eventually died on 3 February. On 7 February 2021, the Minister of Health of the Democratic Republic of the Congo confirmed the laboratory results and declared an outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the territory of Butembo, North Kivu Province. Following this, the DRC RC, with support from IFRC organised to immediately start response activities that would minimise the spread of the disease. A Provincial Coordination Committee from the Ministry of Health, supported by WHO, is already in the field and is working on contact tracing and disinfection of sites. Red Cross teams have been activated in four health zones: Musienene, Biena, Butembo and Katwa and engaged in the response to provide services such as infection prevention and control (IPC), community mobilisation and awareness-raising, psychosocial support (PSS), safe and dignified burials (SDB) and patient transfers.
The IFRC urgently needs to mobilize additional funding to support the DRC Red Cross to respond to the outbreak, allowing for continued presence and readiness throughout the enhanced surveillance period (until at least September 30) if the outbreak is controlled quickly. The funds are needed to support an adequate operational setup, including DRC Red Cross staff (SDB, rapid response teams, Community Engagement/Accountability, communitybased surveillance, information management, logistics, finance, HR and security) and logistics (vehicles, warehouses, infection prevention and control supplies and stocks for burials).
New funding is vital for DRC Red Cross to continue its lifesaving work in halting transmission related to this resurgence. Moving forward, the DRC Red Cross and IFRC will continue to provide support in the affected areas in the following key pillars:
Community engagement and accountability activities, including risk communication
Safe and dignified burials and safe patient transfers
Infection prevention and control activities, including assessments of health facilities
Psychosocial support – assessment of needs and provision of psychosocial support
Strengthening the capacities of DRC Red Cross volunteers and mobilization of Rapid Response Teams
For the past two and a half years, the DRC Red Cross, with the support of the IFRC, has built strong capacity in EVD preparedness and response; it has the structures, staff, volunteers, expertise, and logistics in place. The area of resurgence of cases is an area of armed conflict, and the DRC Red Cross is one of the few organisations with access to the area with the support of Red Cross Red Crescent Movement partners, including the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The Red Cross is therefore uniquely placed to respond to the latest resurgence of cases and to play a critical role in this latest public health emergency. The DRC RC will shift the focus from preparedness and recovery to response, under the framework of this Emergency Appeal. An allocation from the IFRC Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) allowed the reactivation of response activities in these areas while fundraising efforts are ongoing.