Fatal attacks on Congo clinics risk resurgence of Ebola epidemic

World

International organizations warned on Friday of a potential resurgence of Ebola in Congo after deadly militia attacks on health centers forced aid groups to suspend operations and withdraw staff from the epidemic's last strongholds.

FILE PHOTO: Moise Vaghemi, 33, (L) an Ebola survivor who works as a nurse cares for a patient who is suspected to be suffering from Ebola, inside the Biosecure Emergency Care Unit (CUBE) at the Ebola treatment centre in Katwa

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GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo: International organizations warned on Friday of a potential resurgence of Ebola in Congo after deadly militia attacks on health centers forced aid groups to suspend operations and withdraw staff from the epidemic's last strongholds.

Maid Maid militia fighters killed four people and injured several others at two Ebola centers on Thursday in the worst yet of violence hampering efforts to tame the outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

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The world's second biggest Ebola epidemic on record has killed over 2,200 people since mid-2018, but new infections slowed in recent months.

"Ebola was retreating and now it is likely to resurge," World Health Organization (WHO) spokesman Christian Lindmeier told a news briefing in Geneva. WHO has relocated 173 staff while the U.N. children's agency UNICEF has evacuated 20 staff.

After Thursday's fatal raids on health centers in Mangina and Byakoto, a screening center was also attacked overnight in the town of Oicha, Congolese health authorities said.

Maid Maid fighters and local residents have attacked health facilities sometimes because they believe Ebola does not exist and in other cases because of resentment that they have not benefited from the influx of donor funding.

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The International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) halted operations in the towns of Mangina, Beni and Butembo.

"We've had to put all Ebola activities on hold in high-risk areas," said Corrie Butler, spokeswoman for the IFRC in Congo, saying the attacks had been in areas with most Ebola cases.

At least 1,500 Red Cross staff and volunteers are involved in Ebola work in Read More – Source