Ebola death toll rises to 214 in Democratic Republic of the Congo as health workers are forced to stop fighting the deadly virus when their hotel is hit by a shell in armed rebel attack

Monday, November 19, 2018
By Paul Martin

16 health workers were taken out of the city to be given psychological help
Nobody was injured in the attack, which was carried out ‘metres’ from the hotel
The Ebola outbreak has now killed 214 people and infected 366 in the country

19 November 2018

Health workers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo had to be evacuated from their hotel after it was hit by a shell in a nearby armed rebel attack on Friday.

Some 16 World Health Organization staff were taken out of the city of Beni, where they are trying to fight an Ebola outbreak which has so far killed 214 people.

Efforts to control the epidemic had to be toned down on Saturday because of the attack, with vaccinations and peacekeeping suspended, but work resumed on Sunday.

The organisation’s director general said he heard ‘heavy gunfire’ over the phone, and a shell hit the workers’ hotel but didn’t explode.

Violence is common in the central African country and has made it difficult to stop the Ebola outbreak – earlier in the week eight United Nations peacekeepers and 12 local soldiers died in an ambush.

At least 366 people have caught Ebola since the outbreak began at the beginning of August, and experts last week warned it may not be over for another six months.

WHO staff showed ‘distress’ after the attack on Friday night in Beni – where the outbreak started – so they were evacuated to the nearby city of Goma.

Efforts to contain the disease were toned down on Saturday and no vaccinations were given, but work resumed as normal yesterday.

Rebels from the Allied Democratic Forces militia had attacked a camp used by the UN, just ‘a few metres’ from a hotel where Ebola workers are staying, but nobody was injured.

Around 200 staff are based in the area, 16 of whom were evacuated to be given counselling and rest after the ordeal.

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