S&D MEPs have today expressed serious concern at the increasing attacks on health workers and the kidnapping of children in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The attacks, carried out by armed rebels and militia in the North Kivu and Ituri provinces, are hampering efforts to contain and eradicate the Ebola outbreak, with potentially devastating consequences.

S&D Group vice-president Elena Valenciano said:

"The international community needs to urgently focus attention on protecting health workers in eastern DRC and help to reduce these disturbing attacks. The disruption of treatment and vaccination programmes has already resulted in a sharp increase in reported cases of Ebola, as the country struggles to contain the outbreak.

"We are also extremely concerned at reports of the kidnapping of children for ransom, which is utterly unacceptable. Children in the DRC are already facing malnutrition and hunger, violence and disease outbreaks, and the rise in kidnapping cases is an appalling abuse of children in areas already struggling to provide security and contain the spread of Ebola.

"We welcome the news from the European Commission for a further €7.2 million from the EU to tackle Ebola in the DRC. A focus on immunisation, treatment and communication is essential to halting the spread of the disease, working hand-in-hand with the security efforts of the international community."

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