As the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) approaches a year of active Ebola transmission in North Kivu and Ituri provinces and case counts climb each day, renewed violence in the region has led to a sharp increase in displaced persons, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

“Humanitarian actors urgently need access to provide assistance and prevent further massive displacement. We are increasingly concerned that rising displacement creates fertile ground for the spread of disease—most worryingly Ebola—in Ituri province,” said Fabien Sambussy, IOM chief of mission in the DRC.

The displacement stems from political violence in the region, which the IOM said had been mostly controlled for the past 16 years. In recent weeks, 160 people have been killed in conflicts, and an estimated 400,000 persons are currently displaced throughout Ituri province.

Thousands of internally displaced Congolese are housed in a makeshift camp close to Bunia, which has seen recent Ebola transmission.

Within the past month, the outbreak has seen its first cases cross international borders, with two cases confirmed in Uganda. Over the weekend the Ugandan ministry of health said it is no longer following case contacts and declared their country Ebola-free after 21 days of no new cases.

(CC BY-ND 2.0), flickr, UNMEER/Martine Perret

Case counts reach 2,418

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