Nairobi/Geneva 23 May 2015 – The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is deeply concerned about the current situation in Burundi and its humanitarian consequences in the country and region.
Pre-election tension and violence have intensified in recent weeks in Burundi, resulting in a number of casualties in the capital of Bujumbura. More than 100,000 Burundians have fled across the country’s borders into neighbouring Congo, Rwanda and Tanzania.
The Rwandan Red Cross reports that 26,756 Burundians have crossed its border over the past three weeks, while UNHCR reports at least 76,520 Burundians have fled to Tanzania.
In Tanzania, the men, women and children, who fled their homes only with what they could carry, are also now facing a cholera outbreak. According to health officials, 33 people have died so far. The outbreak is feared to be worsening with more than 2,000 suspected cases now reported, increasing at the rate of 300 to 400 new cases per day, particularly in Kagunga and nearby areas. At least 15 suspected cases have been reported on the Burundi side of the border. Many cases of acute watery diarrhoea have also been reported.
“Over half of the refugees from Burundi who seek refuge in Tanzania are children who are particularly vulnerable to infectious diseases like cholera. Many of the families arriving are female-led which makes them even more vulnerable to violence and insecurity,” said Finn Jarle Rode, IFRC regional representative, East Africa. “There are urgent needs in water and sanitation, health, first aid and shelter.”
IFRC is supporting National Red Cross Societies in Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania in responding to the urgent and rising humanitarian needs, especially those of woman and children who are the most affected in the current crisis, and to ensure close collaboration and coordination between the three National Societies.
On 20 May, IFRC launched an emergency appeal for 1 million Swiss francs to support the Tanzanian Red Cross Society in delivering assistance to 20,000 Burundian refugees with a focus on emergency health, water, sanitation, hygiene promotion, emergency shelter, and relief. Since the beginning of the crisis, staff and volunteers of the Tanzania Red Cross Society have been on the frontline of the response, providing people in need with immediate humanitarian assistance. A Field Assessment Coordination Team (FACT) has also been deployed to further evaluate the needs of the refugees and update the Red Cross response plan accordingly.
In Burundi, the Red Cross deployed three first aid mobile response teams in Bujumbura. They are offering onsite first aid treatment, evacuation of the injured to hospitals, and referrals of pregnant women caught up in the violence. Burundi Red Cross is monitoring the situation closely in all provinces and has pre-positioned stocks to be able to adapt its response to the fast changing context.
In Rwanda, the National Society has been supporting refugees at different entry points, in two transit camps and in one permanent camp with registration, first aid, psychosocial support, distribution of non-food items and helping separated family members regain contact with their loved ones.
“The Red Cross is on the front lines of this response, and currently, a lot remains unknown,” said Jarle Rode. “As the needs of those affected become clearer through our on-going assessments, we will undoubtedly have to seek significant additional resources to ensure affected people and families in Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania receive the humanitarian support they deserve.”
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world’s largest volunteer-based humanitarian network, reaching 150 million people each year through its 189 member National Societies. Together, the IFRC acts before, during and after disasters and health emergencies to meet the needs and improve the lives of vulnerable people. It does so with impartiality as to nationality, race, gender, religious beliefs, class and political opinions. For more information, please visit www.ifrc.org/africa. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.
This Ebola disease has taken its toll and that why I have made this blog post. With various sources quoting in the recent week on the matter, to prove what the nations does and don’t. Also too show the progress of multilateral organizational co-ops in the affected countries in the West Africa.
This is what the US Government entities have to say about people with Ebola reaching its shores;
“Today, as part of the Department of Homeland Security’s ongoing response to prevent the spread of Ebola to the United States, we are announcing travel restrictions in the form of additional screening and protective measures at our ports of entry for travelers from the three West African Ebola-affected countries. These new measures will go into effect tomorrow (…) Today, I am announcing that all passengers arriving in the United States whose travel originates in Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea will be required to fly into one of the five airports that have the enhanced screening and additional resources in place (…) We currently have in place measures to identify and screen anyone at all land, sea and air ports of entry into the United States who we have reason to believe has been present in Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea in the preceding 21 days” (DHS Press Office, 21.10.2014).
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that public health authorities will begin active post-arrival monitoring of travelers whose travel originates in Liberia, Sierra Leone, or Guinea. These travelers are now arriving to the United States at one of five airports where entry screening is being conducted by Customs and Border Protection and CDC. Active post-arrival monitoring means that travelers without febrile illness or symptoms consistent with Ebola will be followed up daily by state and local health departments for 21 days from the date of their departure from West Africa” (CDCP, 22.10.2014).
Multilateral organizational response to health issues recently:
IMF addresses first: “The strong growth trends of recent years in the sub-Saharan Africa region are expected to continue. The region’s economy is forecast to continue growing at a fast clip, expanding by about 5 percent in 2014, the same level as in 2013, and accelerating to around 5¾ percent in 2015, underpinned by continued public investment in infrastructure, buoyant services sectors, and strong agricultural production. This growth momentum is particularly pronounced in the region’s Low-Income Countries, where activity is forecast to accelerate to 6¾-7 percent in 2014-15” (…)”This positive picture, however, co-exists with the dire situation in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, where, beyond the unbearable number of deaths, suffering, and social dislocation, the Ebola outbreak is exacting a heavy economic toll, with economic spillovers starting to materialize in some neighboring countries” (…)”In the countries currently affected by the Ebola outbreak, fiscal accounts are coming under considerable pressure. Ideally, support should be provided through grants from the donor community, to enable the countries to accommodate higher Ebola-related spending and to help avoid an even more pronounced decline in economic activity. However, when grants are not immediately forthcoming, and provided that the public debt levels remain manageable, fiscal deficits should be allowed to widen, subject to the availability of financing” (IMF, 20.10.2014)
Tostan addresses secondly: “Guinea has been confronted with the serious Ebola epidemic which, due to the surprising apparition of the disease and the unpreparedness of health authorities, has taken the lives of an unprecedented number of families and health workers. Despite preventative measures taken by Guinean authorities with the support of development partners, Ebola persists in the country” (…)”Using our approach of organized diffusion, 17 Tostan supervisors will hold educational discussions in local languages to raise awareness on the Ebola virus. 2,784 community members from 116 Community Management Committees (CMCs) and the Local Council for Children and Families (CLEF – in French) will educate their relatives, friends, and at least three districts and neighboring villages” (…)”Other preventative measures include the distribution and installation of hand-washing kits in each Tostan office in Conakry, Labe, and Faranah by the National Coordination of Tostan Guinea. The Governor and Prefect of Faranah, who visited the regional Tostan office, congratulated Tostan for putting in safety measures to help prevent the spread of Ebola amongst the staff and the 116 partner communities, as well as acknowledging the hundreds of other adopted communities reached through organized diffusion” (Tostan, 20.10.2014).
UNFPA addresses it as a third: “The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) today reaffirmed its commitment to a partnership with Amref Health Africa aimed at improving the health of women and children in Africa. Speaking at the exchange of a signed Memorandum of Understanding that makes Amref Health Africa an implementing partner for UNFPA in Africa, Dr Laura Laski, Chief of Sexual and Reproductive Health at UNFPA, said the partnership intended to strengthen health systems by training midwives to building their capacity to respond to health issues, particularly those related to maternal, neonatal and adolescent health” (…)”She emphasised that high maternal mortality in Africa is an unfinished agenda of the Millennium Development Goals, and one of the critical issues that will be discussed at the Amref Health Africa International Conference to be held in Nairobi from November 24-26. She urged African governments to increase their commitment and contribution to health development, as well as individuals, corporates and institutions” (UNFPA, 23.10.2014).
WHO addresses is a fourth: “WHO convened a meeting with high-ranking government representatives from Ebola-affected countries and development partners, civil society, regulatory agencies, vaccine manufacturers and funding agencies yesterday to discuss and agree on how to fast track testing and deployment of vaccines in sufficient numbers to impact the Ebola epidemic” (…)”Results from phase 1 clinical trials of most advanced vaccines are expected to be available in December 2014 and efficacy trials in affected countries also will begin in this timeframe, with protocols adapted to take into consideration safety and immunogenicity results as they become available” (…)”Pharmaceutical companies developing the vaccines committed to ramp up production capacity for millions of doses to be available in 2015, with several hundred thousand ready before the end of the first half of the year” (…)”Community engagement is key and work should be scaled up urgently in partnership between local communities, national governments, NGOs and international organizations” (WHO, 24.10.2014).
African Development Bank group together with a collective or affiliates is the five one to address it: “Leaders of three Pan-African institutions – the African Union Commission’s Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the African Development Bank’s Dr Donald Kaberuka, and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa’s Dr. Carlos Lopes – concluded a solidarity tour on Friday 24 October 2014 in Conakry, Guinea” (…) ”They met with Heads of Government, cabinet Ministers, parliamentarians, civil society and media in the affected countries, as well as with leaders of two neighbouring countries, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. Ghana also hosted the delegation in its capacity as the current President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)” (…)”They recognised the stepped up contributions of the international community in providing financial, technical, infrastructural and medical support to the fight against the EVD, and urged all to do still more” (…)”the AfDB’s contribution – currently at over 220 million USD – includes supporting the international response, budgetary support for the deployment of health workers from across Africa and the diaspora, as well as supporting the health systems in the three countries, including training local health extension and community workers” (…)”It felt that the virus – and perceptions about it – cannot be allowed to affect the economic prospects of the fastest growing continent. The group strongly believed that the Mano River Basin countries, now at the epicenter of the epidemic, continue to have some of the best economic prospects of the continent. In continuing to call for a lifting of all travel bans, it was pleased to hear that Côte d’Ivoire has resumed flights to Guinea this week, and will do so with Sierra Leone and Liberia in the coming days” (ADBG, 25.10.2014).
RMS Stats on Ebola:
I think this is all for today! Peace.
African Development Bank Group: ‘AUC, AfDB and ECA confident that countries will beat Ebola Virus Disease’ (25.10.2014) Link: http://www.afdb.org/en/news-and-events/article/auc-afdb-and-eca-confident-that-countries-will-beat-ebola-virus-disease-13667/
Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDCP): ‘CDC Announces Active Post-Arrival Monitoring for Travelers from Impacted Countries’ (22.10.2014) Link: http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2014/p1022-post-arrival-monitoring.html
DHS Press Office: ‘Statement by Secretary Johnson on Travel Restrictions and Protective Measures to Prevent the Spread of Ebola to the United States’ (21.10.2014) Link: http://www.dhs.gov/news/2014/10/21/statement-secretary-johnson-travel-restrictions-and-protective-measures-prevent
IMF: ‘IMF Projects Robust Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa, Amid Shifting Global Forces’ (20.10.2014) Link: http://www.imf.org/external/np/sec/pr/2014/pr14475.htm
TOSTAN: ‘Tostan involved in awareness raising activities on Ebola in Guinea’ (20.10.2014) Link: http://www.tostan.org/news/press-release-tostan-involved-awareness-raising-activities-ebola-guinea
UNFPA: ‘UNFPA and Amref Health Africa seal Partnership to Boost the Health of Africa’s Women and Children’ (23.10.2014) Link: http://www.pressreleasepoint.com/unfpa-and-amref-health-africa-seal-partnership-boost-health-africa-s-women-and-children
WHO: ‘WHO convenes industry leaders and key partners to discuss trials and production of Ebola vaccine’ (24.10.2015) Link: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2014/ebola-vaccines-production/en/
RMS: ‘RMS Develops World’s First Probabilistic Model of West African Ebola Outbreak, Finds Current Outbreak Has Potential to be Deadliest Infectious Disease Event in a Century’ (23.10.2014) Link :http://www.rms.com/about/newsroom/press-releases/press-detail/2014-10-23/rms-develops-worlds-first-probabilistic-model-of-west-african-ebola-outbreak-finds-current-outbreak-has-potential-to-be-deadliest-infectious-disease-event-in-a-century