Photos: Gaël Cloarec

Photos from the Epicentre of DR Congo's Ebola Crisis

Nearly 500 people have died in the country's tenth Ebola outbreak in 40 years.

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06 February 2019, 8:45am

Photos: Gaël Cloarec

This article originally appeared on VICE France

North Kivu, a province in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo, has been at the epicentre of the country's ongoing Ebola crisis – an epidemic that has killed nearly 400 people in the past six months. At the same time, the province has been forced to contend with outbreaks of violence caused by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a militant group responsible for the deaths of thousands of people in random attacks across Central Africa.

In this environment, it's been extremely hard for NGOs to operate effectively. Many Ebola treatment centres have become targets of not just the ADF, but also anti-government protesters. These demonstrators are angry that the Congolese government used the outbreak as an excuse to stop specific areas like North Kivu from voting in last December's presidential elections.

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The people of Beni were not allowed to vote in the most recent presidential election.

With the Ebola outbreak spreading and humanitarian workers treated like political targets, doctors in North Kivu are worried that the epidemic could become an uncontrollable, permanent aspect of life in the DRC. To better understand the problem, I travelled to the city of Beni in North Kivu to capture the country's fight against Ebola.

Scroll down for more photos from Beni.

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A nurse disinfects an ambulance.
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This is the tenth outbreak in 40 years.
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Suspected victims are quarantined in large tents.
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Recovered Ebola patients are immune to the virus, so many offer to stay and volunteer in treatment centres.
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The nursing staff had just installed Christmas decorations.
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Because of the heat, staff can't spend more than an hour-and-a-half in the suits. Afterwards, all protective gear is carefully disinfected following strict protocols.
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When a patient arrives in the treatment centre, all their belongings are burned.
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To put on a suit, you must follow a strict procedure to make it completely waterproof, as the virus can spread through contact with bodily liquids.
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In order to make the contact between patient and nurse more humane, the nurse's name is written on their forehead.
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More Christmas decorations going up.
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With the prevailing insecurity in the region, population displacements are making it harder to contain the problem.
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Since the beginning of the various Ebola outbreaks, this is the first time that doctors have been experimenting with vaccines on the population. Four vaccines are being tested. These do not prevent the contagion of the virus but they greatly improve the chances of survival.
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