Medair calls for unhindered access to respond to Ebola in DR Congo
Lausanne/Goma, 28 December 2018
Protests have broken out in Nord Kivu and Ituri provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Protesters have attacked an Ebola Transit Centre run by a medical aid organisation in the town of Beni.
The region is seeing the world’s second-largest outbreak of Ebola with 591 cases, including more than 300 confirmed deaths.
Medair is responding to the Ebola outbreak and condemns the rise in violence and the attacks on facilities supporting the response.
“We categorically denounce any attack, be it verbal or physical, on humanitarian staff, health facilities, and medical personnel in Nord Kivu and Ituri. Medair colleagues live in the areas severely affected by violent conflict and the Ebola outbreak. They are part of the affected communities, and work with them on a daily basis, sharing in their fears, frustrations, and suffering,” says William Anderson, Medair’s International Director.
Medair is extremely concerned that the Ebola epidemic will expand significantly as the efforts of medical teams to battle the virus are being hampered.
“I call on all stakeholders, including the communities, to respect why Medair is present as a humanitarian agency,” says William. “We are there to support people in Nord Kivu and Ituri provinces with life-saving assistance, based on need. Leadership must put the safety of people first. Their duty in a crisis is to provide clarity and assurance. Under International Humanitarian Law, medical facilities must be respected and protected. It is mandatory for all parties to ensure that medical staff and facilities are not attacked.”
Medair will continue to closely monitor the situation and has taken the necessary measures to ensure the safety of its staff.
We hope and pray that the violence ends quickly and aid workers can safely resume the Ebola response operations and other much-needed relief activities in the region.
For Media Enquiries
Pete Harrison, Communications Officer, Medair DR Congo (EN/FR)
+243 998 591 351
For regular updates, please check medair.org or our Twitter feeds @MedairInt, @Medair_DRC and @MedairPress.
Medair is an international humanitarian organisation that provides emergency relief and recovery aid to communities made vulnerable by natural disasters, conflicts, and other crises.
Medair’s emergency response work in DR Congo is made possible by the generous support of the US Agency for International Development, the EC Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the UN Children’s Fund, the UN Development Programme, and generous private donors.