Democratic Republic of the Congo is currently experiencing the second-largest outbreak of Ebola ever, on the eastern edge of the country in North Kivu and Ituri provinces. On July 17, 2019, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, which heightens international focus on stopping the spread of the deadly virus.
As part of our response efforts, we built, opened and operated an Ebola Treatment Center (ETC) in Makeke (now transitioned to a hospital for the community) and are currently operating an ETC in Mangina—the initial epicenter of the outbreak—as well as an Ebola Transit Center in Beni. In addition to providing treatment, vaccination and contact tracing, we also have constructed nearly 50 screening-and-referral units throughout the region, facilitating more than 1 million screenings for the deadly virus.
The Ebola outbreak compounds an ongoing humanitarian crisis in the country caused by decades of violence that, together with hunger and disease, have claimed more than 5 million lives and left more than 13 million in urgent need of assistance. Though a civil war officially ended years ago, the eastern areas of DRC remain one of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis zones. International Medical Corps is addressing humanitarian needs in Tanganyika, North Kivu and South Kivu provinces, with activities focused on primary healthcare, nutrition and polio surveillance.
According to the United Nations, 2 million children under 5 in the DRC are affected by severe acute malnutrition—a figure that represents 12 percent of the world’s caseload for that age group.
Violence among armed groups, land disputes and rampant sexual violence against women and children continue, especially in several areas of North Kivu. International Medical Corps began working in DRC in 1999 and in the years since has provided assistance to more than 2 million people. About 80 percent of those we have supported were displaced by the war. Today, we work in some of the country’s most remote and volatile areas, often where the presence of other international organizations is extremely limited or non-existent.