Tag Archives: DR Congo

Ebola virus surges to six in DR Congo; 2 dead.

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Ebola is named after the DR Congo’s Ebola River, near which the virus was discovered by Belgian microbiologist Peter Piot and his team in 1976.

The number of confirmed cases of the Ebola virus disease in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) has reached six, with two people having died, the health minister of the North Kivu province said.

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The new outbreak of Ebola started in DR Congo in early February.

“Today we have confirmed two new cases (of Ebola).

“Now we have six cases, two people have died. The vaccination is underway,” Eugene Nzanzu Salita said on Thursday, as quoted by the 7sur7 news outlet.

The Ebola virus is transmitted to humans from wild animals and is estimated by the World Health Organisation to have a 50-per-cent fatality rate.

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Ebola is named after the DR Congo’s Ebola River, near which the virus was discovered by Belgian microbiologist Peter Piot and his team in 1976.

‌The largest Ebola outbreak took place in West Africa in 2014-2015, with more than 11,000 people having died and some 28,000 cases having been reported.

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#Newsworthy

16 dead in DR Congo boat mishap.

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The flat-bottomed vessel came aground at the village of Malebo, about 100 kilometres (60 miles) from the capital.

Rescue workers have recovered 16 bodies from a crowded vessel that capsized on the Congo River at the weekend, sources in DR Congo’s navy and Red Cross said on Wednesday.

The barge, locally known as a “baleiniere” or whaler, overturned on Sunday after leaving the river port of Maluku near Kinshasa, heading for Mbandaka, capital of Equateur province.

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A preliminary toll had given nine dead and an unknown number of missing.

“We have saved 125 people. We have recovered 16 bodies,” rescue operations chief Papy Kamalubanda, who commands a naval unit in the area, told AFP.

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The flat-bottomed vessel came aground at the village of Malebo, about 100 kilometres (60 miles) from the capital.

An AFP team saw rescue workers standing in thick river mud, gathered around the inert body of a baby that had been retrieved from the water.

Farther off were the corpses of a man and a woman, roped together, in a mass of debris.

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“There are still other bodies trapped inside. We are going to continue to recover the bodies tomorrow,” a local Red Cross worker, Sita Faliala, said.

A survivor of the accident, Mado Tshala, said, “There were lots of us (on board), lots and lots of us.

“Several people drowned when the baleiniere overturned, and those who were downstairs found themselves underneath” the vessel, she said.

A vast country the size of continental western Europe, the Democratic Republic of Congo suffers from an acute lack of paved roads and railways, and rivers and waterways are a major form of transport.

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Accidents are common, typically due to vessels that are overloaded or poorly maintained.

Death tolls are tragically high due to a lack of life jackets and the fact that few Congolese learn how to swim.

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#Newsworthy

DR Congo begins Ebola vaccination.

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The WHO’s office in the Democratic Republic of Congo said four people in Biene had been vaccinated and 334 other contacts would also receive the jab.

Health workers in eastern DR Congo have begun an Ebola vaccination drive after four cases, two of them fatal, surfaced just three months after the country’s last outbreak of the disease, the UN said.

“The authorities today… launched an anti-Ebola vaccination campaign in Butembo just a week after the virus re-emerged,” the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a tweet.

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“Workers at Matanda hospital, where the first positive case of Ebola was treated, were the first to be vaccinated,” it said.

The health ministry announced on February 7 that four women in Biene, in the troubled region of North Kivu, had fallen ill with the notorious haemorrhagic fever. Two have since died.

The WHO’s office in the Democratic Republic of Congo said four people in Biene had been vaccinated and 334 other contacts would also receive the jab.

On November 18, DR Congo declared that the country’s 11th documented epidemic of Ebola was over.

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The outbreak, in the northwestern province of Equateur, claimed 55 lives.

On Sunday, the West African state of Guinea said it had confirmed seven cases of Ebola — the first resurgence of the disease in the region since a 2013-2016 epidemic that killed more than 11,300 people.

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#Newsworthy

DR Congo announces Ebola resurgence.

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We have another episode of the Ebola virus in the east,” in the North Kivu province..

Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday announced a “resurgence” of Ebola in the country’s troubled east after a woman died of the disease, just three months after authorities declared the end of a previous epidemic.

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“We have another episode of the Ebola virus in the east,” in the North Kivu province, Health Minister Eteni Longondo told state television RTNC.

“It was a farmer, the wife of a survivor of Ebola, who showed typical signs of the disease on February 1,” he said, adding that she died on February 3.

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#Newsworthy

DR Congo militiamen ‘denied’ over 10 existence, in fresh attack.

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The UN’s human rights office in the DRC said Wednesday that defence and security forces had made “significant efforts to dismantle” the militia.

Fighters believed to belong to the ADF militia have killed at least 12 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s east, local sources said Sunday.

The gruesome attack took place overnight Friday-Saturday after a month of relative calm in the area.

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“Fighters from the Allied Democratic Forces massacred farmers from the village of Mabule in their fields,” Donat Kibuana, the administrator of the Beni region in North Kivu province, told AFP.

At least eight men and four women “had their throats savagely slit in their fields by these ADF terrorists,” said Roger Masimango, from a local network of civil society groups.

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“We’re still searching, because we aren’t hearing from some of the farmers,” he added.

An expert in the area, who asked to remain anonymous, said 14 bodies had been found and more people were missing after the assault.

An army offensive launched in the Rwenzori mountain region had caused a “relative decline” in the number of deadly attacks since early January, administrator Kibuana said.

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He added that “many villages are empty” of people who have fled the fighting.

But the ADF — one of the most violent among dozens of armed groups in the eastern DRC — is believed to have killed 21 civilians on February 5 in Rwenzori.

The UN’s human rights office in the DRC said Wednesday that defence and security forces had made “significant efforts to dismantle” the militia.

Nevertheless, it said 468 deaths in the east were attributed to the group in the second half of 2020, including 108 women and 15 children.

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Originally Ugandan Muslim rebels, the ADF settled in the DRC in 1995.

In recent years they have given up on attacks in neighbouring Uganda, but have carried out repeated massacres in the Beni region of the DRC, killing more than 1,000 people since October 2014.

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#Newsworthy

DR Congo police clashes with protesters.

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The Rwandan Ambassador is Not Welcome
A violent clash broke out in Kinshasa on Friday, near the Supreme Court of the Democratic Republic of Congo, as police subdued a rally of protesters demanding the immediate expulsion of new Rwandan ambassador, Vincent Karega.

Many Congolese want Karega out
They are accusing the ambassador of being a history revisionist claiming he has denied Rwanda’s role in the numerous massacres of Congolese citizens by the Banyamulenge militia — i.e. Rwandan Tutsi Congolese, during the wars in the Congo which occurred between 1996 and 2003.

Many Congolese believe these militiamen are supported by Rwanda to control the eastern region of the country whose land is rich in natural resources. Allegations that Kigali denies.

The Famous Doctor Has Local Support
The demonstrators also called to stop the death threats targeting locally celebrated laureate, Dr Denis Mukwege since July after he called for the establishment of an international court to prosecute the perpetrators of the massacres committed in eastern DRC.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner —- whose work with victims of sexual violence in war saw him obtain the honour, continues to provide medical care of the same nature in his hospital near Panzi.


#Newsworthy…

Denis Mukwege calls on EU action against criminalities in DR Congo.

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Congolese Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Denis Mukwege is calling on the European Union to implement a system that would allow people to raise the alarm “to prevent atrocities.”

Mukwege spoke to EU lawmakers on Monday via video-link.

“We need to create a system which allows people to raise the alarm. These individuals who are in different parts of the country do fantastic work to protect their populations and communities and to prevent atrocities,” Mukwege said.

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He also called on human rights defenders to be protected themselves.

Mukwege is known for founding that is renowned for its work treating survivors of sexual violence.

Congolese Nobel Laureate, Dr. Denis Mukwege

He has faced death threat.

The United Nations human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, called for a quick investigation into the death threats against Mukwege last week.

He praised him as a “true hero” for his work,

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The DRC’s eastern region has seen separate conflicts involving armed groups and government forces for the past year.

Thousands have been killed and half a million people have fled the violence.

In November, the International Criminal Court passed its highest ever sentence when it sent a Congolese warlord known as “The Terminator” to prison for 30 years for crimes including murder, rape and sexual slavery.

Bosco Ntaganda was found guilty of 18 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role as a military commander in atrocities during a bloody ethnic conflict in a mineral-rich region of Congo in 2002-2003.


#Newsworthy…

DR Congo free from deadly ‘measles’

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The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Tuesday declared the end of a 25-month outbreak of measles that claimed the lives of more than 7,000 children aged under five.

The outbreak was countered by vaccination on a massive scale, in which millions of children and infants were immunised.

“For the past month, we are able to say that this epidemic has been eliminated from across our territory,” Health Minister Eteni Longondo told a press conference.

“We can say that measles (in the DRC) no longer exists.”

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that attacks mainly children. The most serious complications include blindness, brain swelling, diarrhoea, and severe respiratory infections.

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Once common, the disease has been rolled back around the world thanks to a cheap and effective vaccine, but low rates of immunisation among a community can cause infection to spread quickly.

“The measles epidemic was unfolding at low level but was the deadliest. It carried off more than 7,000 of our children,” Longondo said.

Routine vaccinations will continue in order to prevent the virus from bouncing back, he added.

The first cases of measles in the latest outbreak were recorded in June 2018. As of January this year, the WHO had recorded more than 335,000 suspected cases of the disease, of which 6,362 were fatal.

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By way of comparison, the DRC — a vast country the size of continental western Europe — has recorded 9,891 cases of coronavirus, of which 251 were fatal.

An outbreak of Ebola in the east of the country, which was declared over on June 25 after nearly two years, killed 2,287 people.

The announcement in Kinshasa came ahead of an expected declaration Tuesday by the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) that wild poliovirus has been eradicated from Africa.

Health teams have been fighting to wipe out polio’s last vestiges on the continent, in northeastern Nigeria, where jihadists said vaccination was a conspiracy to sterilise young Muslims.


#Newsworthy…

Ebola virus: Fresh 100 cases surge in DR Congo

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One hundred cases of Ebola have been recorded in DR Congo’s northwest in less than three months, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Thursday as it warned the response to the epidemic is underfunded.

The outbreak was reported in Equateur province on June 1, just as the country was preparing to declare an end to a separate Ebola epidemic in the east that claimed over 2,000 lives.

The latest outbreak — the vast central African country’s 11th since Ebola was identified in 1976 — has since spread to 11 of the province’s 17 health zones, and 43 people have died, according to WHO.

The number of cases has doubled over the past five weeks, it said.

“With 100 Ebola cases in less than 100 days, the outbreak in Equateur Province is evolving in a concerning way,” said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s regional director for Africa.

Affected communities are spread across 300 kilometres (185 miles) in remote and densely forested areas, presenting logistical challenges, Moeti said.

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“Without extra support the teams on the ground will find it harder to get ahead of the virus,” Moeti said.

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus voiced concern about delays between the onset of symptoms and an alert for a suspected case of Ebola, which he said was five days.

“This is concerning, because the longer a patient goes without treatment, the lower their chances of survival, and the longer the virus can spread unseen in communities,” he said at a press conference in Geneva.

“The situation has been further complicated by a strike by health workers, which is affecting activities including vaccination and safe burials,” he said.

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In early August, Ebola health workers went on strike to demand payment of their salaries.

“DRC has the best-trained workforce in the world for Ebola. This situation needs to be resolved as quickly as possible,” he said.

‘Ignore at our peril’
According to WHO, DR Congo’s health ministry has presented a plan to donors and partners requiring $40 million (34 million euros) in the fight against Ebola, and has committed $4 million.

WHO said it has already mobilised a total of $2.3 million to combat the epidemic.

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“COVID-19 is not the only emergency needing robust support. As we know from our recent history we ignore Ebola at our peril,” Moeti warned.

On June 25, DR Congo officially declared an end to an Ebola epidemic that broke out in the east nearly two years earlier, which Health Minister Eteni Longondo described as “the longest, most complex and deadliest” in the country’s history.

The two epidemics have no common viral strain, according to WHO.

The virus is passed on by contact with the blood, body fluids, secretions or organs of an infected or recently deceased person.

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The death rate is typically high, ranging up to 90 percent in some outbreaks, according to the WHO.

In May 2018, another Ebola epidemic in Equateur province was contained in less than three months, with 54 cases and 33 deaths recorded.

DR Congo has also faced a major measles outbreak and recurring flare-ups of cholera and malaria.

The country has recorded 9,802 cases of coronavirus and 248 deaths since the first cases were reported on March 10, according to the latest official figures.


#Newsworthy

Not less than 41 test positive for COVID-19 in DR Congo prison.

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At least 41 coronavirus cases have been recorded in an overcrowded military prison outside DR Congo’s capital Kinshasa, health authorities said Friday.

Health Minister Eteni Longondo told TopCongo radio that prisoners at the Ndolo jail were still being tested but he expected the number of cases to rise.

Longondo said the current hypothesis was that “a woman who came to leave food” at the jail had transmitted the virus.

Human Rights Watch warned last month that poor conditions in overcrowded DR Congo jails such as Kinshasa’s Makala prison — filled to more than four times capacity — were a likely virus breeding ground.

The government said on April 8 that at least 1,200 prisoners had been released in order to help stop the virus spread.

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To date the vast central African country, one of the world’s poorest, has reported 572 confirmed cases — almost all in Kinshasa — and 31 deaths.

Authorities confirmed 72 new cases on Thursday, all in the capital except one at Kasindi on the Ugandan border, the largest daily rise since the country’s first on March 10.


#Newsworthy…

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WHO Confirm 6 Ebola Virus Cases In DR Congo


The World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Office for Africa has confirmed six cases of Ebola in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The UN’s health agency confirmed the development on its official twitter account @WHOAFRO on Monday.

“They are currently six confirmed Ebola cases in Northeastern DRC in spite of ongoing insecurity in the area.

“WHO and partners are working with civil society organisations to carry out surveillance activities including contact tracing and monitoring of the 638 known contacts.’’

WHO had on April 10 confirmed a new case of Ebola virus in the city of Beni in DRC, after 52 days of not recording a case in the country.

In light of this, the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee on Ebola in DRC had met and presented their recommendations to the WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus.

Ghebreyesus said their view on the Ebola outbreak in the DRC was that it continued to constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and I have accepted that advice.

“Tremendous progress has been made containing this outbreak in very difficult circumstances.

“Up until April 10, 54 days had passed without a confirmed case being reported, and 40 days had passed since the last person known to have Ebola tested negative and was discharged from treatment.

“The Committee noted that armed groups are active in the area where these cases were identified, a lack of funding is constraining the response, and the COVID-19 pandemic is adding more challenges to an already complex operation.

“We have to anticipate and be prepared for additional small outbreaks. We need the full force of all partners to bring these outbreaks under control and to meet the needs of the people affected,’’ Ghebreyesus said.

The director-general, however, thanked the Committee for their advice.

“I thank the government and people of DRC, the responders, partners and WHO colleagues, who are dedicated to ending this outbreak,’’ he said.


#Newsworthy…