Ebola battle ‘like a horror film’
NAIROBI — The medical anthropologist was in the shower when she heard the first pops of gunfire.
Initially, she thought it might be the action movie she had left playing on high volume.
Then the wall shook.
The violence in eastern Congo, which has stymied the international response to a growing Ebola outbreak in the region, had arrived at the guesthouse used by many of those working to prevent the disease’s spread.
Terrified, Julienne Anoko dropped to the floor and crawled into the corridor outside her room.
She and five others from UN agencies, Congo’s health ministry and the World Health Organization, which she works for, hid in another bathroom for three hours until a UN peacekeeping force arrived and gave the all-clear.
“It was like a horror film,” Anoko said of the Nov. 16 attack in the city of Beni, the epicentre of the outbreak.
Attacks by armed groups happen on a daily basis across Congo’s North Kivu province, where the Ebola virus has been spreading since August, infecting almost 500 people and killing more than 270.
A health worker sprays disinfectant on a colleague after working at an Ebola treatment centre in Beni, in eastern Congo, in September.