BENI, Democratic Republic of Congo – The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres will travel to the epicentre of the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo this Saturday 31 to highlight efforts being made by the international community to combat the deadly virus.
The UN World Food Programme (WFP) is part of the emergency response, providing food to Ebola survivors and people potentially carrying the virus. WFP also provides critical logistical services and operational support to partners of the medical response teams.
“We are working not only to save lives on an urgent basis, but also to contain the virus so that it doesn’t spread further,” said Susana Rico, WFP Emergency Coordinator in Beni. “Our task is very challenging because the area is plagued with insecurity and infrastructure is inadequate. With the rainy season starting soon, it will be even more difficult to access the most remote areas.”
WFP’s Emergency Coordinator and other staff members will be available for interview in English, French and Spanish.
13 million people are food insecure and in need of humanitarian assistance across the country. The DRC is suffering the world’s second-largest food crisis after Yemen.
Almost 500,000 people have received food from WFP since the beginning of the outbreak in August 2018. Good nutrition is key for those recovering from the disease and for those otherwise affected by it. Weekly food parcels for a four-week period help limit the movement of people potentially carrying the virus.
WFP – through the UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS), which it manages – provides air transport and swift access for humanitarian workers needing to reach out-of-the-way areas. Since the start of the Ebola outbreak in DRC in August last year, UNHAS has transported more than 26,000 Ebola response personnel.
WFP supplies transport, warehousing, distribution services and the setting up of infrastructure. In DRC, WFP has built three accommodation camps for Ebola responders.
Population: 17 million in Ituri/N. Kivu. 1 million displaced in N. Kivu. 300,000 in Ituri since June.
Ebola outbreak: Almost 3,000 cases have been reported since the beginning of the epidemic, including 105 probable and 2,861 confirmed. The virus recently spread to two new health zones which had previously not reported any cases: Mwenga in South Kivu and Pinga in North Kivu.