As the deadly Ebola virus outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo continues, with the first cases emerging in neighbouring Uganda this week, the EU has announced further emergency funding of €3.5 million, of which €2.5 million is for Uganda and €1 million for South Sudan. The aid package will strengthen rapid detection and reaction to Ebola cases. Today’s funding comes on top of the EU support for the Ebola response in the Democratic Republic of Congo and prevention and preparedness actions in Uganda, South Sudan, Rwanda and Burundi.
Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis management and EU Ebola coordinator said: “We are doing all we can to save lives and stop further Ebola cases. Today, our main task is not only to help the Democratic Republic of Congo, but also assist neighbouring countries like Uganda. Here, our funding is helping with surveillance, work with local communities, and boosting local capacities for these countries to take timely and effective action. We are committed to continue our assistance to bring this outbreak to an end, for as long as it takes.”
In co-ordination with other international donors and in line with the World Health Organization’s Regional Strategic Ebola Response and Preparedness Plans, EU funding is contributing towards measures that include mainly:
- the strengthening of disease surveillance at community level, health facilities and points of entry (border crossing points);
- the training of rapid response teams;
- the training of healthcare and frontline workers on contact-tracing, infection prevention and control measures, psychosocial support, and safe and dignified burials;
- local capacity-building by equipping medical treatment facilities; and
- community awareness-raising.
EU humanitarian health experts in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and the region are coordinating the response and they are in daily contact with the health authorities in these countries, the World Health Organization and operational partners.
In a controversial decision, the World Health Organization (WHO) has again declined to declare Africa’s latest Ebola outbreak global alert, although the desease has killed more than 1400 people and just crossed into a new country.
“It was the view of the committee that the outbreak is a health emergency in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the region, but it does not meet all criteria,” Preben Aavitsland, acting chair of an expert committee convened by WHO, said at a press conference in Geneva, Switzerland.
The committee gathered for the third time after news emerged this week that the virus had spread from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to neighboring Uganda, so far claimed lives of two people there—a 5-year-old boy and his grandmother—who had crossed the border.
Many infectious disease experts and public officials had expected, and called for WHO to declare a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) when Ebola broke out of the DRC.
*I’m baffled and deeply troubled by this decision,” Lawrence Gostin, director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.. “The status quo is no longer tenable. It is time to sound a global alert.”
The Foreign Affairs Council will start with a discussion on current affairs. The High Representative and foreign ministers may refer to the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo. (Image: EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini doorstep before the Foreign Affairs Council).
Felix Tshisekedi called for national reconciliation while succeeding Joseph Kabila as Democratic Republic of Congo’s president, in a first democratic transfer of power in 59 years of independence.
“We want to build a strong Congo, turned toward its development in peace and security,” he said to thousands of supporters gathering on the lawn of the presidential palace. “A Congo for all, in which everyone has a place.”
The inaugural ceremony was briefly interrupted when Tshisekedi had a spell of dizziness during his inaugural address and had to sit down. However he returned to the podium moments after a brief pause, saying he was exhausted by the election and the emotion of the moment. Some media reported there was a problem of bulletproof vest, being fixed too tight.
Felix Tshisekedi is declared by the Constitutional Court as an ultimate winner of the December presidential elections in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) dismissing a claim from supported by the Catholic Church candidate Martin Fayulu who rejected the result of the vote, and announced himself a president elect.
The supporters Tshisekedi were celebrating the court decision in the streets of Kinshasa. Fayulu blames the incumbent President Joseph Kabila an engineered scam deal between him and Tshisekedi.
Both incumbent President Kabila and Tshisekedi’s representatives dismissed any secret dealings . The president of the constitutional court, Benoit Luamba, rejected the claims of a self-proclaimed winner as “inadmissible.”
Felix Tshisekedi is a son of legendary left opposition leader late Etienne Tshisekedi, and founder of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) one of the major political forces in Congo.
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) rejected the demand of African Union (AU) to postpone the announcement of the final election result, in spite of the warning of the possible unrest, caused by released by the Catholic bishops information, proclaiming the former Exxon Mobile manager Martin Fayulu (62) as the absolute winner. Following the contestant complains, the Constitutional Court assessed the plebiscite legality in a response to an appeal filed by election runner-up Martin Fayulu – who says he was cheated of his victory in the December 30 election.
“The court is independent,” government spokesman Lambert Mende said on January 18. “I don’t think it is the business of the government or even of the African Union to tell the court what it should do.”
The runner-up in the Democratic Republic of Congo‘s long-awaited presidential poll Martin Fayulu (62) denounced the results as an “electoral coup“.
These results have nothing to do with the truth at the ballot box,” Fayulu told Radio France International (RFI).”It’s a real electoral coup, it’s incomprehensible.”
The leader and founder of Engagement for Citizenship and Development party established in 2009 with two other MPs, Fayulu, a former Exxon Mobile top manager, is the favorite the influential Congo Catholic church.
“They have stolen the victory of the Congolese people, and the Congolese people will never accept that their victory is stolen,” Fayulu said.
He called “all those who observed the elections” to “tell us the truth, publish the results”. “We can not keep quiet, it’s a scam, it’s a joke that we can not accept today,” he insisted.