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Attack on International Rescue Committee (IRC) supported hospital in DRC leads to loss of life; IRC Ebola responders caught in violence

Attack on International Rescue Committee (IRC) supported hospital in DRC leads to loss of life; IRC Ebola responders caught in violence

Three IRC staff caught up in attack that led to tragic loss of life of an Ebola Response staff member; IRC stands with the community and sister organizations in mourning this attack; To date more than 1,290 people have contracted Ebola since the outbreak began in August 2018; Outbreak is far from under control – April set to be the highest case rate on record, with daily cases loads reaching 20.

Three International Rescue Committee staff members have been caught up in an attack on an IRC supported hospital in Butembo, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), in which an Ebola response staff member was killed.

Bob Kitchen, Senior Vice President for Emergencies said: “We are sickened by this attack on the hospital in Butembo, where IRC staff are working alongside colleagues from sister organizations to support the people of North Kivu to end this deadly Ebola outbreak. We mourn the loss of the Ebola response colleague who gave their life in service of this community. Three IRC staff members were caught up in the attack and are now safe.

“In total there are an estimated 120 armed groups active in the area impacted by Ebola. We do not know who perpetrated this attack but we call on each group to cease the violent activities that led to this tragic event.

“Attacks such as this one are becoming increasingly common and with each attack on a hospital or centre tackling Ebola, the disease gains traction. Violence means work has to be suspended and that teams cannot carry out vital activities including infection prevention and control activities, vaccinations and contract tracing.

“This month we are on track to see the highest rate of transmission in a single month, following March’s already record-breaking numbers. We have also seen the number of daily cases rise to 20 – the number we were seeing for whole weeks just a few months ago. The trajectory of this outbreak is alarming and it cannot be beaten without support from the community. Without a significant change in community engagement and understanding this outbreak will not be over for another year.”

Since the outbreak began in August 2018, more than 1,290 people have contracted the disease, of which 833 have lost their life. Leading on infection prevention and control, the IRC is working in 59 health clinics, training health workers to recognize symptoms and safely triage and transfer suspected Ebola patients to treatment centers; as well as working in women’s and children’s protection and community sensitization.

With more than 13 million people in need of aid, DRC is one of the world’s most complex, chronic and long-standing humanitarian crises. The IRC has been working in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1996 responding to the humanitarian crisis in the east. It has since evolved into one of the largest providers of humanitarian assistance and post-conflict development, with life-saving programming in health, economic recovery, women’s and children protection, and livelihoods.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of International Rescue Committee.International Rescue Committee
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