A hygienist disinfects at a treatment centre that receives people diagnosed with cholera in RDC (Reuters) A hygienist disinfects at a treatment centre that receives people diagnosed with cholera in RDC (Reuters) 

Save the Children: cholera cases are rapidly increasing in DRC

As the conflict between the National army and armed groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo faces a dangerous escalation, "Save the Children" reports a rise in cholera cases, with children accounting for three-quarters of them.

By Edoardo Giribaldi

“Cholera cases are rapidly increasing in Nyiragongo, a region in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) hosting the largest number of people displaced by the recent escalation of conflict,” Save the Children claimed in a press release.

The humanitarian organization reported more than 973 cases during the last two weeks, “including 438 cases among displaced people, many of whom are living in informal camps or sheltering in schools, churches or other sites.”

Clashes and displacements

The clashes between the Congolese army (FARDC) and armed groups resumed in February 2022. “Since then, over 450,000 people in North Kivu have been displaced from their villages, with more than 240,000 taking shelter in Nyiragongo,” Save the Children affirmed.

The humanitarian organization expects that the “escalation of conflict last weekend, along with the rainy season impeding road access to the area, will make combating the spread of the disease even harder.”

Concern for children

Amavi Akpamagbo, Country Director at Save the Children in DRC, highlighted how “one of the most concerning things about this outbreak is that children are more exposed. The data from health authorities shows that over 77% of recorded cases are among children aged 14 years and younger, with 119 children currently hospitalized or in cholera treatment units."

“We know that malnourished children who contract cholera are at least three times more likely to die due to their weakened immune systems. This makes it even more urgent to act now.”

The latest humanitarian organization data showed that “DRC had the second highest number of children globally in critical need of essential services such as food, clean water, shelter and mental health and psychosocial support.” Yet, according to the statement, only half of the funding required to face the emergency has been received. 

Leave everything behind

The press release also brought up the tragic context of the Rutshuru region, situated in the eastern part of the country, where “people have had to flee their homes, leaving everything behind. Children, women and men sleep outdoors, many unprotected from the weather, without sufficient food, water and access to sanitation facilities which are critical to prevent the further spread of cholera.”


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22 December 2022, 16:50