The Democratic Republic of Congo is facing a renewed wave of Ebola, just a week after it was thought to be extinguished. The earlier wave of the disease had struck around 1,500 miles away from the present location of the attack. The most recent wave has already claimed 20 lives, according to reports by the country’s Health Ministry. This has been the 10th occasion of Ebola outbreak in the country. The first occasion of an outbreak in the country was in 1976.
Health Minister, Dr Oly Ilunga Kalenga, has mentioned a reported 26 cases, out of which 20 proved fatal. Samples taken from the survivors turned out 4 positive results for the virus. The earlier outbreak in the area of Mbandaka, a thriving river port, led to the deaths of 33 people. It was declared over on July 24. This was made possible due to a new Ebola vaccine as well as aggressive efforts by the WHO, which helped in the identification of the disease to check its spread. Dr Ilunga mentioned that there were no signs as yet of the two cases of outbreak being related. The recent outbreak presents a challenge for the authorities, as the area is an active conflict zone and it will be critical how the population is assessed. Ebola has been particularly paid attention to, since the outbreak three years ago in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia claimed a mind-numbing 11,000 lives, with an economic loss of more than $2.2 billion to the affected nations.
Meanwhile, the DR of Congo witnessed the return of former warlord Jean-Pierre-Bemba, with thousands of supporters thronging the capital city of Kinshasa to welcome him. Bemba, aged 55, spent more than 10 years in prison in The Hague for war crimes. The International Criminal Court recently overturned the conviction. Bemba had earlier been one of the four Vice-Presidents of the country in 2003, and led the MLC party before his arrest. He has made his intentions known of contesting the general elections in December to challenge President Joseph Kabila’s rule. Bemba enjoys immense popularity in his home country, with his arrival leading to crazy scenes among the people, where authorities had to resort to using tear gas to disperse the crowd.