25 June 2020 marked the end of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) 10th Ebola outbreak, in North Kivu and Ituri - a relief for communities who suffered the brunt of this outbreak that killed 2,300 people, infected a thousand more, unravelled the social fabric and severely disrupted the livelihoods of already fragile communities facing multi-layered humanitarian needs. This outbreak was tackled amidst a challenging security situation due to the presence of armed groups and sometime inaccessible population that was constantly moving due to insecurity. Unfortunately, three weeks before the end of the 10th outbreak, an 11th Ebola outbreak in Equateur province was officially declared on 1 June 2020 by the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the World Health Organization (WHO). In response to this new outbreak, the operational team was redeployed immediately to scale up EVD response capacities in Equateur province.
This revised appeal seeks a total of some 56 million Swiss francs, decreased from CHF 61 million, and a 6-month timeframe extension to 30 June 2021, to enable the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to continue supporting the Democratic Republic of the Congo Red Cross (DRC RC) to deliver assistance and support the response to and containment of the current 11th EVD outbreak in the DRC and preparedness mechanisms in order to contain potential outbreaks of diseases with epidemic potential. This revised Appeal aims to support 8.7 million people (reduced from 15.5 million people) with a specific focus on five thematic pillars: risk communication, community engagement, and accountability (RCCE and CEA); infection prevention and control (IPC) support to health facilities in affected communities and at the community level; safe and dignified burials (SDB); psychosocial support (PSS); and capacity strengthening of the Red Cross National Societies. The planned response reflects the current situation and information available at this time of the operation.
Given the evolving operational context, the 11th EVD outbreak in the northwest of DRC (non-conflict areas) and necessary adaptation of the operation, the 6th revision of the Emergency Appeal is transitioning the operational modality from the One International Appeal (OIA) towards an IFRC Coordinated Appeal, extends the operation timeframe until 30 June 2021 and extends the geographic coverage to include the current response to the 11th outbreak in Equateur Province. The recovery phase will continue in North Kivu and Ituri until December 2020, to ensure a strong transition focused on local ownership and supporting ongoing efforts to strengthen epidemic readiness and response.
With the end of the 10th outbreak, the focus is now on transition and recovery activities in the East, maintaining strong surveillance and response systems in order to rapidly respond to future outbreaks of diseases with epidemic potential. The extensive network of Red Cross of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC RC) and its committed frontline volunteers are ideally placed to implement these surveillance and early response systems as they are present in the communities and highly trusted by them. These surveillance and preparedness activities have progressively replaced response activities since the end of the outbreak and will now be strengthened and completed by June 2021.
In response to the 10th outbreak, the IFRC, working with the respective National Societies, had implemented preparedness activities in neighbouring Burundi, Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan. These activities will now be phased out and will be completed by December 2020. Thus, this revised appeal does not include any additional activities in countries neighbouring eastern DRC. For the 11th outbreak, the risk to spread to the neighbouring Republic of Congo (RoC) and Central African Republic (CAR) is considered as high. Therefore, the IFRC has mobilized the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support EVD preparedness operations in both countries. Currently, these two operations are not part of this revised Appeal but could potentially be integrated before the end of the year if the risk remains high or if confirmed EVD cases are identified in RoC or CAR.