xi's moments
Home | Africa

New international funds raise hopes of containing Ebola outbreak in DR Congo

By EDITH MUTETHYA in Nairobi, Kenya | China Daily | Updated: 2019-07-31 09:19

Burial workers put on protective gear on July 14 before carrying the remains of a couple to their final resting place in Beni, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Both died of Ebola. JEROME DELAY/ASSOCIATED PRESS

International agencies have heeded a World Health Organization emergency call to pledge funds to contain the Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

WHO on July 17 called the outbreak a "public health emergency of international concern", a rare designation only used for the gravest epidemics.

The year-old epidemic in eastern DR Congo, the second deadliest on record, has expanded from the largely contained remote areas to urban areas, Agence France-Presse reported. More than 1,700 people have died.

The Ebola virus is highly contagious and has an average fatality rate of around 50 percent. It was transmitted to humans from wild animals and spreads among people through close contact with blood, body fluids, secretions or organs of an infected person.

Tedrus Ghebreyesus, the WHO director general, said: "In the last couple of weeks there is renewed commitment to finance the shortages we were facing. The support has raised hopes that the epidemic could be restrained."

Ghebreyesus' comments came after the World Bank announced $300 million financial support raised in a global response to the epidemic. This was the second round after $100 million disbursed by the bank since August 2018.

Kristalina Georgieva, the chief executive officer of the World Bank, said the communities and health workers on the front line of the outbreak urgently need more support and resources from the international community to prevent the crisis from worsening.

Italy pledged 300,000 euros ($333,600) to support medical treatment, immunization and burials in "sanitized" conditions, carried out by WHO in the North Kivu and Ituri regions of DR Congo.

Italy's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said in a statement that the contribution assured continuity to the response of the country's cooperation service since the Ebola outbreak last year.

The United States, through the US Agency for International Development, pledged more than $38 million in additional assistance to help end the outbreak, including $15 million in new funding to WHO.

This brought the total USAID funding for the Ebola response to more than $136 million since the beginning of the outbreak in August 2018.

The European Union has also contributed 30 million euros in humanitarian funding for the Ebola response. This brought total EU financing toward the epidemic to 47 million euros since 2018.

The World Food Programme on Friday announced that it requires $50 million over the next six months to implement its response and preparedness actions in DR Congo and neighboring countries: Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.

The agency plans to nearly double its food assistance and nutritional support to the 440,000 Ebola-affected people in DR Congo over the next six months, in what it termed as, stepping up preparations for a potential further escalation of the epidemic.

The African Union has also announced plans to convene a fundraising forum in the first week of September to support the fight against Ebola in DR Congo.

Global Edition
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349