Beni, DRC, April 10, 2020 — Kate Moger, International Rescue Committee’s Regional Vice President of the Great Lakes, said, “The confirmation of a case of Ebola in Beni is tragic and comes just as the people of DRC were preparing to celebrate on Sunday the end of this disease after nearly two years. This is a devastating development for the communities in eastern DRC who are also under threat from the corona virus outbreak, in addition to ongoing conflict and displacement. This is now a triple emergency: vulnerable populations facing ongoing humanitarian crises, the spread of COVID-19, and now again potentially a re-emerging Ebola crisis. The International Rescue Committee continues to respond to both Ebola and COVID-19 and will ensure that infection, prevention and control support is provided to health centres, as well as sharing critical information on both diseases with the affected populations. The reality of needing to address both Ebola and COVID-19 in a conflict zone is, and must remain, of grave concern to the entire international community and DRC government.”
The IRC has been responding to the Ebola outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri since its declaration in August of 2018 working in more than 90 health facilities in Beni, Mabalako, Butembo, Goma and in southwest Ituri, leading on infection prevention and control (IPC). The IRC is also working in women’s and children’s protection and community engagement, and integrating Ebola-related protection concerns in areas where the IRC supports primary health care services. The IRC has been working in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1996 responding to the humanitarian crisis in the east. It has since evolved into one of the largest providers of humanitarian assistance and post-conflict development, with life-saving programming in health, economic recovery, women’s and children’s protection, and livelihoods.
The IRC has launched a US $30 million appeal to help us mitigate the spread of coronavirus among the world’s most vulnerable populations. We are working across three key areas: to mitigate and respond to the spread of coronavirus within vulnerable communities; protect IRC staff; and ensure the continuation of our life-saving programming as much as possible across more than 40 countries worldwide.