DR Congo

UNICEF DR Congo Ebola Situation Report #51 North Kivu, Ituri and South Kivu - Reporting Period: 16 December 2019 to 05 January 2020

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Highlights

• Since the security incidents in Beni, 19,140 Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) settled in two sites around Mangina. On 19 December, the UNICEF Rapid Response teams distributed NonFood Items (NFI) kits to 2,748 IDP households.

• In Bunzi health area (Beni health zone) where contacts from Lwemba settled down on a voluntary basis, UNICEF provided psycho-social support during the 21 days of their follow-up and even organized art therapy activities for women and children.

• Between Biakato and Lwemba, UNICEF organized mass awareness-raising activities to improve the communities’ knowledge of response activities and reached 6,471 travelers and 6,831 worshippers from various churches and congregations.

• UNICEF jointly with the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) further developed the community feedback and accountability to affected populations mechanism through the UReport, recently-established in DRC, which hit 10,000 members as of end of December 2019.

Epidemiological overview

With an additional 42 new confirmed cases reported in the weeks from 16 December 2019 to 6 January 2020, a total of 3,390 Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) cases were reported as of 5 January 2020, among which 3,272 confirmed and 118 probable cases. Two thirds (2,233) of EVD cases died (global case fatality rate is 66 per cent).

Of the total confirmed and probable cases, 56% (1903) were female, 28% (956) were children aged less than 18 years, and 5% (168) were healthcare workers.

Funding Overview and Partnerships

UNICEF appeals for US$125,570,235 to sustain the Ebola response through two of its main pillars in DRC.

Since the beginning of the outbreak, the World Bank Group, the European Commission (European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), Gavi - the Vaccine Alliance, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), the Government of Japan, the German Committee for UNICEF, the Government of United Kingdom and The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation have generously contributed to UNICEF DRC’s Ebola response. UNICEF expresses its sincere gratitude to all public and private donors for the contributions received.

However, the SRP4 still has a funding gap of 61% and is currently being updated. The SRP4.1 is under finalisation and will cover a fourth-months period until the end of April 2020. While there are positive signs that the number of cases is slowly reducing, the outbreak remains a serious public health concern. The focus remains on interventions to break the chain of transmission with an emphasis on Health System Strengthening (HSS). Thanks to additional funds, Pillar 3 activities addressing essentials humanitarian needs in EVD affected health zones could be accelerated and 700,000 people could have access to safe water and adequate sanitation while over 20,000 vulnerable children could receive group psychosocial support including in child-friendly spaces.

Context highlights

During the reporting period, the ongoing conflict and insecurity around Lwemba provoked population displacement to Mambasa and Biakato and hindered the humanitarian access to this area. Regularly, planned missions had to be shortened or cancelled due to the possible presence of armed groups and insecurity. Despite that, between 18 and 20 December, UNICEF-led community dialogues with local communities revealed a positive feedback on the return of UNICEF team in Lwemba and the implementation of activities. The community leaders allowed the construction of water sources to resume and demanded that the health center re-open. In Biakato, UNICEF teams undertook assessment missions to rehabilitate four bridges in the village that will allow people to better access services like schools and health centers.

In Beni, the contacts from Lwemba that settled down in the Bunzi health area on 1st December continued to receive the support by the response teams, particularly in terms of access to water thanks to the local partner PPSSP, and more importantly, psychosocial assistance. Following the initiative of psycho-social agents, UNICEF took initiatives for women to develop new skills and children to play and adapt to the new environment. UNICEF thus provided children with pencils and women with knitting kits and organized art therapy activities. The team also followed up on these contacts and the last confirmed case among them was reported on 8 December. After 21 days, UNICEF Psychosocial team started to prepare them for their return to their village. Since 29 December, among 78 persons, 52 decided to go back to their homes and agricultural activities, around Lwemba. Only 26 people remained in Bunzi in host families. In total, in Bunzi, nine confirmed cases were reported while 11 were declared negative in the Transit Center. Three confirmed cases died, including two pregnant women, and six survived.

Since the security incidents in Beni, Internally Displaced Persons settled down in two sites, in Mangina and Lukaya (located between Mangina and Biakato). On 19 December, UNICEF Rapid Response teams distributed NFI kits to 2,724 IDP hosted by the communities or in schools. IDPs children also benefitted from the measles follow up vaccination campaign that started on 17 December, in 12 health areas, and reached a total of 29,636 children out of 27,890 targeted (106,2%). This campaign did not include Aloya health area considering the high number of EVD cases in this area.

During the reporting period, in Mangina, Beni and Biakato UNICEF progressively improved the security of its bases and guest houses by building safe heavens, adding fences and armoring windows and doors. Following the security incidents and the recommendations from the last Ebola Management Team meeting in December 2019, an additional security officer was also recruiting to cover the North Kivu province.