Sunday January 19, 2020

Efforts to Contain Spread of Ebola Virus to Remain Elusive Unless Cycle of Violence is Broken

A senior World Health Organization official warns efforts to contain the spread of the deadly Ebola virus

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Ebola, Violence, WHO
Ebola workers enter a house to decontaminate the body of a woman suspected of dying from Ebola, before the vehicle of the health ministry Ebola response team was attacked in Beni, northeastern Congo Monday, June 24, 2019. VOA

A senior World Health Organization official warns efforts to contain the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo will remain elusive unless the vicious cycle of violence in the region is broken.  Latest WHO figures put the number of Ebola cases at 2284, including 1540 deaths and 637 survivors.

WHO Assistant Director-General for Emergency Response Ibrahima Soce Fall says there has been good progress in scaling up operations to contain the spread of the deadly ebola virus in conflict-ridden North Kivu and Ituri provinces.

Fall has just returned from a three-month stint in Butembo, the epicenter of the Ebola epidemic in DR Congo.  He says last week there were 79 new Ebola cases, 27 fewer than the previous week.  He says infections are continuing to fall in the major urban centers of Butembo and Katwa thanks to coverage in all 33 health areas.

At the same time, he tells VOA the operation is running into difficulty in the rural areas of Mabalako and Mandima, the new hot spots of the epidemic.

Ebola, Violence, WHO
Congolese security forces attend the scene after the vehicle of a health ministry Ebola response team was attacked in Beni, northeastern Congo Monday, June 24, 2019. VOA

“The access is more challenging.  In the same area, we have some villages where you have both ADF (Allied Democratic Forces) armed group coming from Uganda and some Mai Mai groups,” said Fall.  “So, access needs to be assessed on a daily basis to be able to move up to the intervention.  So, it is really important to take into account this very volatile situation.”

Eastern DRC has been politically unstable since 1998.   There are an estimated 4.5 million internally displaced people in the country.  The UN High Commissioner for Refugees says new displacements are occurring mainly in the eastern provinces of Ituri and North and South Kivu.  More than 100 armed groups reportedly are engaged in sporadic fighting in the region.

Fall says constant and skilled negotiations with the armed groups are needed to gain access to these volatile areas.

“The outbreak started there last year and spread to other areas,” Fall said. “So, it is important to break this vicious cycle to contain very quickly the situation in Mabalako and Mandima, where we have more than 55 percent of the cases coming from.”

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Fall says it will be exceedingly difficult to contain the virus if more money is not immediately forthcoming.   He says $98 million is needed to support the government-led response to defeat ebola.  To date, he says less than half that amount has been received. (VOA)

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Actress Sunny Leone: Violence is Something That our Children See and Learn

"I do not endorse violence," says Actress Sunny Leone

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Sunny Leone
Actress Sunny Leone took a neutral stance on Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) violence. Wikimedia Commons

Actress Sunny Leone took a neutral stance on Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) violence by saying that she doesnt want to comment on the anti-CAA protest and fee hike issue in JNU, adding that she is pro-peace and she hopes that all concerned parties will come out with a solution on the matter.

“I don’t want to share my opinion on an actual thing that people are fighting over. I feel there are many things that we can do if we put our foot down, if we speak to each other and stop the violence, because violence is something that our children see and learn. Violence doesn’t affect just one person. It affects the entire family because it also emotionally hurt them. I am pro-peace and I do not endorse violence. I am sure that there will be some solution that can come without violence,” said Sunny, while interacting with the media at a promotional event, when she was asked to comment on Sunday’s attack on JNU students by unidentified masked men.

Sunny Leone
“I think it’s time that we start respecting mother earth and giving back to her basically what she has given us,” says Sunny Leone. Wikimedia Commons

At the event, Sunny also spoke about the devastating wildfires in Australia. “I think we have created this path of destruction, and wer are destroying things that are so beautiful in our world. I do believe that we have the ability and the means to clean up our cities and homes. I feel we have to keep our beaches clean, and provide education to children about what it means to throw your thrash in the garbage box.”

She continued: “I think it’s time that we start respecting mother earth and giving back to her basically what she has given us, which is the ability to live on this planet. I know we practice certain things in our homes that help the environment, and I really hope that people start paying attention to these things because it is only going to get worse.”

Also Read- Actress Tanushree Dutta Compares Nana Patekar to Asaram Bapu

Talking about the web series “Ragini MMS: Returns” season 2, which released on December 18, she said: “I am really happy that people have liked season 2. I haven’t got the chance to see it. I have seen only my portions while dubbing but I have heard nice things about it. I wish success to Zee5 and ALTBalaji and I hope it does well for them.”

“Ragini MMS Returns Season 2” features real-life couple Divya Agarwal and Varun Sood. Sunny Leone plays a paranormal expert in the series. (IANS)