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Hunger Killing Inmates in DR Congo Prison, Says Aid Workers

Aid workers from Bill Clinton Foundation for Peace have said 17 prisoners have died in Makala prison in neighbouring DRC.

According to the workers, the prisoners are dying due to lack of food, medicine and poor hygiene at the Kishansha located prison.

According to prison officials, the country’s biggest correctional facility has not received food supplies for the past two months meaning the more than 8,000 inmates relied on their families for meals.

Speaking on the matter, a prison official said the situation was worrying.

“It’s terrible! People are dying almost every day,” the official was quoted by local media.

The facility is also severely overcrowded, housing five times more prisoners than it can accommodate.

Conditions are so poor that non-governmental groups estimate at least 100 prisoners are gravely ill and close to death

However the Tundaya Kasande, the Deputy Minister of Justice told local media that Makala had now received some funding to help improve conditions.

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“It’s true, there was a delay in paying suppliers and this explains the break in supplies,” Kasende said, adding, “the situation is going to be better”.

Last year, it was reported that 40 inmates had died in similar circumstances over an 18-month period in another prison in DR Congo.

In un related development the World Health Organization (WHO) has said more than 6,000 people have died following the measles outbreak, with more than 310,000 cases reported in the country since the beginning of 2019, Adding the outbreak would continue unless more funding is made available.

Despite $27.6m (£21m) having been mobilised in order to tackle the problem, the organisation said a further $40m was needed for a six-month vaccination program that would protect children between the ages of six and 16.

The Congolese government and the WHO launched an emergency vaccination program in September last year that aimed to have more than 800,000 children vaccinated.

But poor infrastructure, attacks on health centers and a lack of access to routine healthcare have all hindered efforts to stop the spread of the disease.

Four million children have been vaccinated, but experts warn that this amounts to less than half of the total in the country – and not enough vaccines are available.

The majority of those infected with measles in the country are infants.

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