Ebola Fears Grow as 300,000 Flee the Congo; Worries About Containing Disease

  • According to reports, central Africa’s second deadliest Ebola outbreak continues to worsen “as more than 300,000 people have fled the Congo since early June because of ethnic clashes.”
  • Official say “the current Ebola outbreak is the second deadliest following the 2014-2016 epidemic where more than 11,000 people died after contracting the disease.”
  • Local officials say that Congolese people are fleeing their homeland in droves after violent clashes last week between herding and farming villages left about 161 dead.
  • U.N. refugee agency spokesman Babar Baloch said: “Violence in northeastern parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo is reported to have displaced more than 300,000 since early June. The situation in Ituri province has deteriorated since the middle of last week, with multiple attacks involving the Hema and Lendu groups.”
  • There are fears that more people will flee the Congo due to sexual violence, murders and kidnappings, including those who are suffering from Ebola, spreading the disease and making it harder to contain.
  • Last week, two Ugandans died from Ebola after visiting a sick relative in the Congo who was believed to be sick with the disease and later died. Health officials now believe those who came in contact with the sick relative could be infected with Ebola.
  • According to reports, “while some of the members of the group traveling back to Uganda were stopped at the border after they were already showing symptoms of the disease, six family members managed to slip across the border.”
  • The border between Uganda and the Congo is monitored 12 hours per day, but people often cross it after dark when there’s little oversight.
  • A Ugandan police officer said: “This border is very porous. You will not know who has passed if the person went through the unofficial border posts, in most cases. Now there is anxiety and so on. We have heightened our alertness.”
  • In the Congo, there have been 1,355 confirmed deaths, according to WHO.

Reference Links

  • BBC: DR Congo exodus of 300,000 ‘may hamper Ebola battle’ READ
  • The Independent: More than 300,000 flee DRC violence in two weeks, UN agencies say READ
  • Fox: Ebola fears worsen after more than 300,000 flee Congo over violent ethnic clashes: report READ
  • The East African: Hundreds of thousands flee violence in northeast DR Congo: UN READ

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