UN agency suspends activities in troubled eastern Congo

Published 29.11.2019 18:33
Updated 29.11.2019 22:42

U.N. agencies on Friday expressed concern about security around the city of Beni in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) following the deaths of four Ebola workers in a nearby attack, with the World Food Program forced to suspend food distribution in the area.

U.N. agencies expressed concern at a U.N. briefing on security around the city of Beni in the Congo following the deaths of the Ebola workers in the attack. At least four Ebola response workers were left dead and six others injured after two attacks on Thursday against health facilities in the Congo, the World Health Organization reported.

"With civil unrest and violence continuing in the city of Beni, one of the Ebola epidemic hot spots in eastern DRC, the WFP (World Food Program)-run U.N. Humanitarian Air Service is airlifting nonessential U.N. staff to Goma, the capital of North Kivu province in eastern DRC," WFP spokesman Herve Verhoosel said at the U.N. briefing.

Charlie Yaxley, a spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said the U.N. and its humanitarian partners are "extremely concerned" for the safety and security of hundreds of thousands of civilians in the eastern Beni territory. The deadly violence and mass protests have cut off humanitarian access to the troubled region.

"The UNHCR and its partners are calling for an urgent need to restore security to allow humanitarian agencies immediate access to support the affected population. Hundreds of households are currently sleeping in churches and schools," said Yaxley.

More than 3,100 Ebola cases have been confirmed since an outbreak was declared in August 2018, and more than 2,100 deaths were recorded; however, insecurity in the region is hampering efforts to contain the outbreak.

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