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Oxfam launches response to new Ebola outbreak in Beni, North Kivu, DRC

By Oxfam
Tresor, 31, is a hygienist and volunteer member of PVH-Protection of Human Lives (PVH-Protection des Vies Humaines), a local partner organization working with Oxfam in the response to Ebola in the DRC. Photo: Sam Cunningham/Oxfam

Nine days after an Ebola outbreak in Equateur province in the western part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) was officially declared over, four new cases have been confirmed by the DRC’s Ministry of Health. These new cases are in Mangina area in the territory of Beni, province of North Kivu, more than 1,553 miles from the recent outbreak.

Oxfam is launching a response, strengthened by its experience in tackling the previous outbreak. We will be working with communities, local partners and other agencies in the area, providing clean water, sanitation structures and information about ways to prevent the virus from spreading further. 

“This outbreak comes at a time when the country is already unstable, with millions of people caught up in humanitarian crises as a result of ongoing conflicts,” said Jose Barahona, Oxfam Country Director for the DRC. “People are hungry and at risk of disease and many have had to flee their homes. Beni has been deeply unstable for the past few years due to armed conflict and Ebola poses a serious risk to communities already on the edge and threatens our ability to help them."

In Beni, Oxfam’s ongoing work is reaching thousands of displaced people and host communities with food, clean safe water, and sanitation facilities.

The last Ebola outbreak in Equateur province resulted in 54 confirmed cases and 33 deaths. Oxfam launched a response and provided desperately needed food to thousands of people. We installed chlorinated water points in hospitals, health centers, schools and ports, and helped to disinfect houses in which Ebola cases have been detected. We also provided door-to-door information to the most vulnerable people, working with communities and carrying out mass awareness activities including film screenings and worked with local community radio stations. 

Ebola is only one of the numerous and serious humanitarian crises to which millions of people in the DRC are exposed. Prolonged and recent conflicts in Ituri, North and South Kivu, the Kasaï provinces and Tanganyika have left millions of people hungry and at risk of disease. Several million Congolese are caught up in humanitarian crises are without aid of any kind of aid. Donors, who have been quick to respond the Ebola outbreak so far, should make good on their pledges to provide much needed assistance in Ituri, the Kivus, Tanganyika and the Kasais.

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