Fears over rising Ebola infections in DR Congo, lack of funding for safe burials
Photo by: File
Ensuring the safe and dignified burial of people who have died from Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of the Congo – regarded as a key way to prevent disease transmission – is under threat from a lack of funding, a key UN-partner said on Thursday.
Amid an uptick in the number of infections in north Kivu and Ituri provinces, the Red Cross says it has just two weeks’ worth of funding to support its burial teams.
Since the start of the latest Ebola epidemic in DRC last August, the virus has claimed more than 1,100 lives and infected 1,671 people, making it the second deadliest outbreak to date.
Twenty per cent of those cases occurred in the last three weeks, according to DRC authorities, who are grappling with insecurity and attacks on health centres by armed groups in north-eastern DRC.
Highlighting the value of the work of the burial teams, Emanuele Capobianco, Director of Health and Care at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), explained that in the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, up to 80 per cent of people were infected during unsafe burials.
Faced with a $16 million shortfall, IFRC has called on the international community to urgently increase its investment in Ebola response, before the outbreak escalates further.