Events in the Congo have gone largely unnoticed in world news
Barely five months into 2019, the second deadliest Ebola outbreak in the history of mankind has raged through the Congo - a massive area, mostly ungoverned, riven with the violence. The global response led by the World Health Organization has largely been ineffective based upon a multitude of factors. With over 1,500 confirmed cases and approximately 900 deaths, progress to control the epidemic has been limited by the lack of security. Government troops are in a long-term fight with rebel forces. In late April, locals armed with machetes burst into the North Kivu region treatment center and attempted to burn it down. Such brutal attacks have frightened away foreign doctors. Some will never return… others will never come.
Rumor and misinformation circulated in rural villages also thwarts international aid organization’s efforts to contain the hemorrhagic fever. Many tribal leaders distrust the government and fear if anyone reports the symptoms, they will be burned alive by soldiers. The sight of men in the white, spaceman looking, containment suits dispels horror in the local populace. Whatever information the World Health Organization promotes to contain the rampant virus goes on death ears.
The virus—and the death it brings—is horrific and even in more controlled areas is hard to contain. International aid organizations fight a battle on two fronts: against Ebola’s ferocious appetite and—until they are stopped—the lawlessness of the rebel factions and their desire for power and control. The Congo’s battle with Ebola will continue with limited success as the nation is mired in its own violent past as many struggle to eradicate the world’s deadliest disease.