Tuesday August 14, 2018 – It is nearly 13:00 when the first truck crosses the border between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It stops and waits for the other trucks. One behind the other, the 9 trucks carrying 90 tons of supplies needed to support UNICEF’s response to the Ebola outbreak are rushing into the main roads of the city of Goma.
Jean-Petit Ahmadi, the first truck driver, leads the convoy. “Truck loading started around noon at Kigali airport. It was only around 23:00 that we took the road and we arrived at the border at 05:00”, he says. Jean-Petit knew that a new Ebola outbreak had been declared in eastern DRC but admits his surprise by the measures put in place. “Since the border, my temperature has been taken many times and I have been asked to wash my hands. I do not even remember how many times”, says the driver. “But it’s good, it’s to protect us.”
UNICEF has deployed more than 100 tons of humanitarian supplies as part of the response to the Ebola outbreak. This material helps preventive community involvement, the vaccination campaign, as well as the support for the care of children and families affected by the disease.
“I was happy to carry supplies for UNICEF because I know what it does to protect and educate children. But when I learned that I was carrying supplies for Ebola, I was even happier”, explains the driver. “I am proud to contribute a little to the fight against Ebola.”
Two children have already died of the disease and 53 children are orphans following the death of their parents. Children are particularly affected by the current Ebola outbreak which makes it critical that their health and well-being be prioritized in the response.
Translated from French by Dorsaf N. James
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