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Christian Aid Appeal as Ebola Kills 1500 in DRC

Wednesday July 3 2019


Christian Aid has launched an emergency appeal as it responds to the Ebola crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The Ebola virus outbreak is the 10th in the DRC and the second largest in history, with more than 2200 confirmed cases so far – nearly 1500 of them fatal – in an area which was already facing a humanitarian crisis due to insecurity and armed conflict.

With concerns that the crisis could escalate further, Christian Aid and partner organisations have scaled up emergency operations.

Christian Aid’s Acting Country Manager for the DRC, Esperant Mulumba, said: “This is a crisis of grave proportions, and time is running out. The Ebola virus has overwhelmed our fragile health infrastructure, in a country where more than 12 million people already desperately need humanitarian aid. To make matters worse, the epidemic has hit a region blighted by instability, armed violence, widespread displacement and food shortages.

“For a range of reasons, there has been denial about the existence of Ebola among some communities, leading to widespread mistrust in the health system and resistance to health workers – even attacks, in some cases. This has made it incredibly difficult for agencies, including our own Ministry of Health, to run an effective Ebola operation. All these factors have seriously undermined efforts to curb the outbreak.

“That is why the response to this epidemic cannot be limited to health work. It is critical that we work alongside communities – and through trusted local figureheads like faith leaders and traditional leaders – to combat widespread fear and distrust about the disease and its causes.”

Mr Mulumba continued: “The Ebola virus is having an impact far beyond the medical realm. For instance, people fleeing the outbreak are adding to the already high numbers of internally displaced populations, who need aid to survive. This displacement, as well as the epidemic itself, has interrupted agricultural activity, making food insecurity a growing concern.   

“During 2018, more than 1.8 million people were newly displaced across the DRC, many of them in North Kivu. In June this year, UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency) reported that an additional 300,000 people had been forced from their homes in the northeastern provinces of Ituri, North Kivu, and South Kivu. These people have staggering needs, both those displaced and the already stretched communities hosting them.   

“Agencies like Christian Aid and our trusted local partners are doing what we can to slow the spread of the virus and alleviate the suffering of people whose lives are at risk. However, the need is incredibly vast: with more resources, we could do more. That’s why we are appealing to the public for more funds, so that we can help those caught up in this terrible situation.”

You can donate to Christian Aid’s Ebola Outbreak Appeal at www.christianaid.org.uk/emergencies/ebola-outbreak-appeal-1


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