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Germany helps with DR Congo Ebola outbreak

February 23, 2019

Germany is one of the largest government donors to the fight against the deadly Ebola virus in Africa. An outbreak in DR Congo has led to the deaths of nearly 500 people since last August.

Ebola outbreak in DR Congo
Image: Getty Images/J. Wessels

Germany, Japan and Australia have increased their support for the fight against an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The three countries will provide an additional $20 million (€17.6 million) to the World Health Organization and the UN children's fund UNICEF. Half the sum will be used for an emergency response to the deadly hemorrhagic virus.

Read more: Top 10 most dangerous viruses in the world

"The world community has learned from the last Ebola epidemic in West Africa. We need to act swiftly and effectively against this devastating disease," German Development Minister Gerd Müller said on Saturday.

In 2014 and 2015, an Ebola outbreak in West Africa killed more than 11,000 people. The outbreak was contained following a sustained international response.

Difficult to contain

Since August, about 800 people have been infected and nearly 500 have died from Ebola in Congo's conflict-wracked North Kivu region, which borders Uganda and Rwanda.

Some 80,000 people, including thousands of health and front-line workers, have been given an experimental Ebola vaccine.

Health and front-line workers have received Ebola vaccinations
Thousands of health and front-line workers have received Ebola vaccinationsImage: Getty Images/AFP/J.D. Kannah

Earlier this week, Congo's Healthy Ministry declared that there had been "major progress" in containing the outbreak in the badly affected town of Beni.

But on Friday it announced the first new infection there in 23 days. Beni is still at risk from the neighboring areas of Katwa and Butembo, where dozens of new cases have emerged this month.

An epidemic is considered over when a country has not recorded any new case for 42 consecutive days.

The response to the Ebola outbreak has been hampered by insecurity in a region with a plethora of rebel groups, fear and mistrust in communities and false rumors about the virus.

Germany one of largest donors

Germany is one of the biggest donor countries, providing €75 million ($85 million) over five years to the World Bank's Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility. It is also one of the largest government donors for the vaccine alliance GAVI, which provides vaccines against Ebola in the Congo.

cw/jm (AFP, dpa, KNA)

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