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RD Congo - País en crisis

Cholera cases surge in crowded camps

Imagen del UNICEF
© UNICEF DR Congo/2005/Page
A child brought in for treatment as cholera spreads through the camps of eastern DR Congo.

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By Chris Niles

NEW YORK, 1 April 2005 – UNICEF is helping fight an outbreak of cholera in the displaced persons’ camps in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Cholera cases in Kafe camp have increased from two to 110 in the last week alone, and three people have died from the disease.

“Our priorities are to support the treatment of victims, contain the [cholera] outbreak and educate the population on preventive measures,” said Massimo Nicoletti-Altimari, head of the UNICEF office for the Ituri district.

There are five suspected cases of cholera in the Tche camp and two in Tchomia. Crowded conditions in the camps have been conducive to the spread of the deadly disease.

Imagen del UNICEF
© UNICEF DR Congo/2005/Page
UNICEF is supplying clean water, soap and plastic buckets to prevent the spread of cholera in the camps of eastern DR Congo.

Armed conflict has forced people to flee

An estimated 50,000 people have fled armed conflict in Ituri District, eastern DR Congo and have taken refuge in three camps, in Kafe, Tche and Tchomia. Because of constantly changing security concerns, many people move from camp to camp. Inhospitable terrain and the ongoing conflict have made it difficult for humanitarian aid to get through.

UNICEF is working with other organizations to provide medical supplies such as oral rehydration salts and ringer lactate, along with chlorine to purify water, plastic sheeting, jerry cans, water bladders, tents and high protein biscuits which help restore health to children malnourished from diarrhoea.

“It’s extremely difficult to bring an epidemic completely under control in a very short period of time,” said Johannes Wedenig, head of the UNICEF office in eastern DR Congo. “But the key measures have been put in place. Over the next few days we’ll be monitoring the situation very closely.”




1 April 2005:
UNICEF New York correspondent Chris Niles reports on the cholera outbreak in eastern DR Congo.