It was thought the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) had finally beaten Ebola. The last person to have had it was being discharged from hospital and the outbreak was due to be declared officially over on 12 April.
But just days before, a new case of it was confirmed. A devastating blow as it had already killed more than 2,000 people in the country.
Now there’s a new threat: coronavirus. There have been more than 350 confirmed cases in the DRC.
Adding coronavirus to the challenges facing people in DRC will test this central African country to the limit. But its people are strong in character and the church is getting on its knees in prayer and reaching out practically to the most vulnerable.
Despite its extremely rich natural resources, the DRC is one of the poorest countries in the world. And fighting in parts of the country, makes it harder for humanitarian groups such as Tearfund to work.
Today the price of food is rising dramatically. This is due to coronavirus-related restrictions putting pressure on the economy and because the country relies on imports for essential supplies. Meanwhile, the health system is not strong enough to deal with the new coronavirus pandemic.
The church steps up
Faith is an important part of life in the DRC – more than 90 per cent of people in the country are Christians. Faith leaders are trusted and respected in their communities and at the national level, so they are very influential.
Faith groups also manage 75 per cent of health facilities, schools and social services in the country, so engaging with them is very important in the fight against coronavirus.