The German Foreign Office is now providing the WHO with a further four million Euro for immediate humanitarian relief in eastern Congo to contain the Ebola outbreak. Germany is thus making a crucial contribution towards curbing this outbreak. The funds will be used to support the treatment of those infected and to finance prevention measures such as vaccinations for those at immediate risk as well as measures in the sphere of hygiene and drinking water supplies. This will complement humanitarian projects run by international organisations or German NGOs and funded by Germany aimed at prevention in neighbouring countries Uganda, Burundi and South Sudan (e.g. regular health screenings at border crossings). To date, there have been no cases of Ebola there.
Ebola is one of the most dangerous infectious diseases. The current outbreak in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo began back in August 2018. So far, more than 1700 cases have been registered and more than 1100 people have died of the disease. This is the world’s second largest outbreak of Ebola to date. In April and May 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) recorded an especially sharp rise in the number of new cases. The WHO is warning that the disease could spread to neighbouring countries.
Containing and combating the outbreak is proving difficult. The security situation in the region has been fragile for decades. Armed groups not only pose a threat to the civilian population but also to healthcare professionals and humanitarian aid workers deployed to deal with the Ebola outbreak.