Health, Government - Red Cross Ebola Workers Attacked
The United Nations Security Council is calling for an immediate end to factional fighting in the DR Congo after three Red Cross workers were attacked while trying to contain the latest deadly Ebola outbreak.
The workers were carrying out safe Ebola burials in in the northeastern city of Butembo when community members attacked them. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) says two of the workers were seriously wounded.
"While we categorically denounce the attack on our colleagues, we understand the fear and frustration that many communities in North Kivu feel right now," said Dr. Fatoumata Nafo-Traore, IFRC regional director for Africa. "People are scared and there are many rumors circulating that only serve to heighten the sense of fear and distrust."
Ebola is no stranger to the DR Congo. But this outbreak, declared on 1 August, is the first in this northeastern region. Congo's health ministry has confirmed 130 infections of the often-fatal virus, and indeed 74 patients have died.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says the outbreak is at a "critical point" because it has spread into inaccessible "red zones" where armed groups have control. Fighting has uprooted as many as one million people in North Kivu Province alone, meaning that the virus can spread more easily without een the most basic health care infrastructure. For the same reasons, quarantines are next to impossible.