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A “Perfect Storm” Is Surrounding One of the Worst Ebola Outbreaks in History in the DRC Right Now

A “Perfect Storm” Is Surrounding One of the Worst Ebola Outbreaks in History in the DRC Right Now

An Ebola outbreak that has been going on in the Democratic Republic of Congo since August is already one of the worst in history – the 7th worst to be precise – and it looks like it may spiral out of control. Peter Salama, WHO Deputy Director-General for Emergency Preparedness and Response, called the situation “a perfect storm.”

Unrest and war in the region combined with community resistance and mistrust of medical personnel are making it difficult for the World Health Organization to get a handle on the outbreak. Dr. Salama said:

“We are now extremely concerned, that several factors may be coming together over the next weeks to months to create a potential perfect storm. A perfect storm of active conflict, limiting our ability to access civilians, distress by segments of the community, already traumatized by decades of conflict and of murder…

…We’ve seen attacks now on August 24, September 3, 9, 11, 16, 21 and most recently and most dramatically September 22 in the city itself of Beni,” he said. He said that Beni was the base for the agency’s base for the “entire operation.” (source)

The outbreak is based in North Kivu, which is on the border of Uganda and Rwanda. Violence has displaced more than a million people in the area, and there have been a number of brutal machete attacks against civilians. Things got so bad that the WHO was forced to cease their operations for an entire week while the Ebola virus spread.

One of the armed groups in DRC which pose a threat to civilians and the international response to Ebola, the ADF – Allied Democratic Forces – has sufficient military capacity to ambush blue helmets from the UN’a Stabilization Mission in DRC (MONUSCO) and government forces – the FARDC.

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