More snags for DRC Ebola response; rebel attack in Oicha

UN troops in North Kivu province
UN troops in North Kivu province

MONUSCO / Force / Flickr cc

With the Ebola response at a standstill due to recent attacks in two Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) hot spots, a 2-day general strike has now sidelined all response activities in North Kivu province, according a World Health Organization (WHO) African regional office weekly update and the daily report from the DRC's Ebola technical committee (CMRE).

Attack in Oicha, demonstrations in Goma

A pair of attacks on Nov 27 left six outbreak workers dead and shuttered response operations in Biakato Mines and Mangina.

Along with news of a general strike (ville mort) in North Kivu, which was declared yesterday, the WHO's African regional office said today that a new rebel incursion in Oicha led to civilian casualties. In addition, demonstrations have been reported in Goma, the capital of hard-hit North Kivu province.

No new Ebola cases were reported today, keeping the total at 3,313, according to the WHO's online Ebola dashboard.

More community deaths in hot spots

The CMRE reported one new death in an Ebola patient from Mabalako. It added that from Nov 27 to Dec 1, surveillance teams recorded 10 community deaths, 8 of them in Mandima in Ituri province, which includes 6 in Lwemba and 2 in Biakato Mines. The other 2 deaths were reported in Mangurujipa in North Kivu province, both of people who had ties to Lwemba.

Community deaths raise the risk of further spread, because Ebola patients shed high levels of virus when they are severely ill and after death, posing an added threat in households that aren't equipped with personal protective equipment.

Added European support

In other developments, the European Commission (EC) on Dec 1 announced it was allocating about $55 million in humanitarian aid for people in the DRC who are most affected by the Ebola outbreak. The funding is targeted to improve food security and access to health services.

The European Union's ambassador to the African Union made the announcement yesterday in Addis Ababa during an Ebola partners forum hosted by the African Union.

The EC has been providing long-term support for the DRC's health system, which has totaled nearly $200 million from 2014 to 2019. For the Ebola outbreak, it has also provided experts, humanitarian air service, vaccine development research, and support for the DRC's health sector.

See also:

Dec 3 WHO African regional office weekly outbreaks and emergencies report

Dec 3 CMRE report

WHO online Ebola dashboard

Dec 1 EC statement

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