Rwanda has been experiencing severe storms, while Uganda is dealing with an outbreak of an extremely fatal variant of the Ebola virus. Via the International Red Cross, the Belgian Development Cooperation is quickly making funds available for the containment of the Ebola virus, as well as to support the victims of the floods and landslides. The relief fund means that actions can be taken faster in smaller-scale emergency situations.
The International Red Cross relief funds were specially created to provide immediate assistance to the national (local) branch in small-scale emergencies.
Ebola outbreak in Uganda
The Ebola virus broke out in the Luweero District in Uganda in May. Dozens of people are showing suspicious symptoms, while a few have already died from the virus. This variant is extremely contagious and can be fatal in just 2 days. Treatment is not readily available; 90% of infected people die from this virus. Thirty-six people died in the Ebola outbreak in Uganda in 2008.
Belgium has contributed €28,155 to the Ugandan Red Cross via the relief fund. The Red Cross quarantines infected people and informs the rest of the population about the virus. Hundreds of volunteers are searching Luweero for infected people. Radio spots, posters and brochures must inform a total of 1.7 million people about how they can protect themselves from the virus.
Storms in Rwanda
Southern Rwanda has been hit by heavy storms, which have resulted in flooding and landslides. The continuing storms have affected more than 3,500 people already. There have been at least 14 deaths and dozens wounded. 277 hectares of crops have been destroyed and numerous houses damaged. Families are fleeing the area, there is a food shortage and hygiene is substandard.
The Rwandan Red Cross responded immediately. They parcelled out non-food items and health and hygiene kits: plastic sheets, blankets, cooking sets and soap. Psychological support was also offered and the wounded were transported to hospitals. The Belgian Development Cooperation is supporting these efforts with €121,632 from the relief fund.