Martine Perret

DRC: CERF releases emergency funding for post-Ebola response

On 8 June 2020, UN Humanitarian Chief Mark Lowcock released US$40 million from CERF to help tackle health emergencies in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The announcement came shortly after the Government confirmed a new outbreak of the virus in Mbandaka, in the northwestern province of Équateur. The DRC is fighting a prolonged Ebola outbreak and more than 2,200 people have lost their lives to the virus in the DRC since the outbreak started in the eastern Ituri, North-Kivu and South-Kivu provinces in August 2018.

The CERF funds will strengthen the DRC’s existing health services to enable follow up support for Ebola survivors and establish community-based surveillance, alert and rapid response systems. They will also fund the delivery of food, shelter, water and sanitation support, and health, education and protection services.

On top of Ebola, the DRC is battling a dangerous mix of health and humanitarian crises, including the world’s largest measles outbreak, massive internal displacement and insecurity, and the COVID-19 pandemic. As of 4 June, the DRC had recorded 3,494 cases of COVID-19 and 74 deaths.

The UN’s Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock said: “What is happening in the DRC is a stark reminder that the global community must not lose focus on the humanitarian crises that were present before the COVID-pandemic. If we take our eye off the ball in places like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, vulnerable people trapped in vicious cycles of suffering won’t have a fighting chance in the face of COVID-19.

The DRC has several times this year come close to ending the outbreak of Ebola. The World Health Organization recommends waiting 42 days after the last person tests negative a second time before declaring the end of an outbreak.

Sustained efforts are needed to avoid further flare ups. This includes building on the DRC’s capacity to fight Ebola, built during this outbreak, and strengthening its health system in line with the Government’s plans for universal health care. “I am grateful for the generosity of donors and urge them to continue to fund the fight against Ebola in DRC.” , Lowcock adds. 

This funding builds on an earlier allocation of $30 million to the DRC provided by CERF through its underfunded emergencies allocation window.