Médecins Sans Frontière (MSF) has suspended its activities at the epicentre of the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), in Butembo and Katwa, after an arson attack at an MSF Ebola treatment centre in the Butembo area. The attack on Wednesday (February 27) came just days after an Ebola treatment centre, supported by MSF, in Katwa was partially burned down.
In a statement, Hugues Robert, MSF emergency desk manager said MSF had evacuated its staff from the area for their safety pending a thorough analysis of the risks associated with continuing to provide medical care there. "In light of these two violent incidents, we have no choice but to suspend our activities until further notice. As medical responders, it is very painful to have to leave behind patients, their families and other members of the community at such a critical time in the Ebola response," he said.
It comes as figures show that as of 24 February 2019, 872 Ebola virus disease cases have been reported from 19 health zones in the DRC, including 807 confirmed and 65 probable cases. A total of 548 deaths had been reported including 483 deaths among confirmed cases. Sixty-nine health workers have been infected, with 21 deaths.