Friday, February 18: The confirmation of two new cases of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo, after nearly 3 days of no new case reported, is a stark reminder of the danger that still lurks from the recent outbreak in Butembo.
Alarmingly, one of the cases announced by the North Kivu Province Health Minister was found nearly 150 kilometres from the centre of the outbreak in Butembo. “This new case is cause for serious concern. The virus being found so far away indicates greater exposure and will stretch available resources. We are hoping for the best, as we plan for the worst-case scenarios,” says David Munkley, World Vision’s Director for the East Zone.
This week, World Vision’s Regional Leader for the Southern Africa Region, Mark Kelly, issued an organisational alert on the spike of the Central Africa Republic refugee influx in North and South Ubangi, as well as a surge of internal displacement of people in Beni within DRC’s Grand-Nord region. About 26,000 families have been displaced as a result of spikes of violent community raids in recent times.
“Such contagion within a context of mass people movements caused by violent conflicts, foreshadow a perfect storm. Quick action helps protect communities, especially children at such times,” World Vision’s National Director Anne-Marie Connor explains the complexity.
Six cases, including two deaths, have been confirmed in the DRC with over 200 contacts as of February 14. Further, in West Africa, Guinea is battling an Ebola outbreak as well, with 7 cases confirmed.
Butembo is a business hub close to the border with Uganda, which has prompted Uganda to Issue an alert. Six countries neighbouring Guinea – Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Sierra Leone and Liberia have issued alerts too.
In the DRC, the World Health Organisation and the Ministry of Health announced that vaccinations of health workers had begun for Ebola in Butembo.
World Vision has been a leader in facilitating Ebola vaccine deployment, acceptance and compliance during the worst Ebola epidemic in West Africa, as well as during the 10th outbreak in Goma, DRC 2019/20. World Vision continues to actively monitor this outbreak in coordination with other humanitarian stakeholders.
Spokespersons are available on request.