What is been described as a long-simmering Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is making Africa headline news after the discovery of cases of the disease at the border of the DRC and Uganda.
The Ebola crisis in the DRC which began last August according to the World Health Organization (WHO) has sickened many and killed more than 600 Congolese, according to the WHO.
According to the Doctors Without Borders organization, which placed a red alert on its website, “ The latest Ebola epidemic is the worst ever documented in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)—and the second-largest Ebola outbreak recorded anywhere. Efforts to stop the spread of the disease are challenged by the realities of fighting an epidemic in a conflict zone.”
With the disease spreading across borders in East Africa, the news triggered a flood of stories that depicted the alarm and seriousness with which humanitarian organizations and governments are treating the issue.
On June 13 – Axios, an American news website, carried the headline: Ebola spreads, as world awakens. The headline was followed by charts showing the increasing veracity of the latest crisis. Axios provided a timeline of the events, from August 2018 until June 5.
Writer Andrew Freeman noted: “Details: This Ebola outbreak is already the second-largest on record, and even the deployment of a successful vaccine has proven insufficient at arresting its spread. A key reason for this is the challenging security environment in which responders are operating.”
On June 13, the news from Ars Technical, a technical website, and a subsidiary of Conde Nast, focused on the subject: Ebola spreads in Uganda—2 deaths, 27 in contact—as WHO calls emergency meeting.
Meanwhile, CBS News reported on the matter June 14. The news organization echoed statements from the WHO which said the matter was still not an emergency.
On June 16 CNN published a story about a Scottish nurse, Pauline Caferkey, a victim of the Ebola virus in 2014, who gave birth to twins on June 11.
The year 2014 was the height of the Ebola disease which impacted three countries in West Africa, Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, and which caused an international scare and drained the health resources of the affected countries.
According to writer Beth Mole of Ars Technica, “Local and international health officials are scrambling to smother a flare-up of Ebola in Uganda, which spread this week from a massive, months-long outbreak in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo. The outbreak has sickened 2,084 and killed 1,405 since last August.”
Meanwhile, the WHO issued a statement on June 14 expressing deep concern about the spread of the disease despite efforts to quell it.
In all these stories the one thing was clear – the security environment around the DRC and the East Africa region was a concern. While efforts are underway to deal with the disease, conflict in the region may make this task even more challenging for organizations and governments involved.
Weeks after the overthrow of Bashir – The Civilian Population Struggles to Have a Voice
The fire from the Sudanese Arab Spring May have had its fuel burnt out after weeks in which the civilian population that engineered the overthrow of the long-time Sudanese military leader, Omar al – Bashir, struggled to have its voice heard.
The New York Times headline on this subject, Sudan Ousted a Brutal Dictator. His Successor Was His Enforcer, echoes the backlash following weeks in which civilian voices have been silenced, with some killed, others wounded, as citizens tried to wrestle control of the country from the hands of the military.
Lt. Gen. Mohamed Hamdan, Bashir’s successor, the story goes on, is the one who now sits atop the pinnacle of power and making decisions for the Sudanese nation. Those decisions have resulted in more protests and more deaths following the ouster of Bashir on April 11.
Bloomberg News echoes a similar headline June 10 – Why Sudan’s Pain Endures After a Brutal Leader’s Ouster – with writer Mohammed Alamin saying, “A crackdown on June 3 left more than 100 protesters dead after talks between the military and opposition on forming a civilian government stalled. Now targeted with arrest or worse by a powerful militia, Sudan’s fledgling pro-democracy movement risks being snuffed out.”
Alamin narrates how all this started: “The coup against Bashir on April 11 followed four months of nationwide protests over soaring prices for food, medicine, fuel, and transportation in which scores of people died. When the 75-year-old ruler, who was indicted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes and genocide in the western region of Darfur, refused to step down, some of his erstwhile allies from the military and security forces pushed him out.”
Where all this is headed is not clear, but Alamin says, “The U.S., which had appeared to take a back seat, has condemned the assault on protesters. The premier of neighboring Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed, visited June 7 in an attempt to broker a solution.”