from JEAN KASSONGO in Kinshasa, DRC
KINSHASA, (CAJ News) –ALMOST 600 children have died as the death toll from Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) passes 2 000 mark.
A total of 850 minors have contracted the disease out of a total of more than 3 000 cases.
Edouard Beigbeder, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) representative in the DRC, said the deaths of the children left families not only in mourning but also scared and worried about their own exposure to the virus.
The envoy said preventing infection among children must be central to the continued response to Ebola.
“We know that more children, proportionately, are being affected than in any previous Ebola outbreak, and Ebola ravages children in ways that are very different from adults,” Beigbeder said.
UNICEF requires US$126 million (R1,9 billion) to meet the needs of children and communities, immediately and over the medium-term.
As of yet, only 31 percent (R593 million) of the appeal has been funded.
António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General, this past weekend bemoaned DRC’s struggles with Ebola as a “terrible situation.”
During his visit to the plagued country, he also lamented other outbreaks such as cholera, measles and malaria.
The tenth, and worst, Ebola outbreak in the former Zaire erupted in August last year. Ituri and Kivu are affected.
A new outbreak was confirmed in neighbouring Uganda last Friday. A nine-year-old girl died. This, months after another outbreak was brought under control.
– CAJ News