Fighting the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo could be a complicated battle as thousands flee their homes.
The United Nations said on Tuesday that more than 300,000 people have fled inter-ethnic violence in northeastern DR Congo since early June.
That means many people who could potentially have the virus may have fled to other areas making it difficult to trace and fight the spread of the disease.
The United Nations’ refugee agency spokesman Babar Baloch told journalists on Tuesday that “Violence in northeastern parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo is reported to have displaced more than 300,000 since early June.
The situation in Ituri province has deteriorated since the middle of last week, with multiple attacks involving the Hema and Lendu groups.”
At least 161 people are known to have died from the clashes in the Ituri province, according to local officials.
The clashes appear to be a resurgence of ethnic clashes between farming and herding communities.
The Hema and Lendu communities have fought over land and water in Ituri which is a gold-rich region in the north-east.
They both have been fighting since 1997 leaving thousands dead in conflict that continues to spread wider.
Over one thousand people have died from the current Ebola outbreak in DR Congo but containing the spread has been a major task.
Officials say the fighting in parts of the country is not helping matters much. Baloch told journalists in Geneva that the UN is “gravely concerned” by ongoing fighting.
The Agency fears current fighting “could engulf large parts of the province”.
Already the Ebola outbreak has crossed over to neighboring Uganda and the UN fears things could get worse with the ongoing movement of people.
Baloch said “So every time you have people moving in high numbers, it is more complicated to do the work of follow-up, contact tracing, follow up on the people who are supposed basically to be observed on a daily basis for 21 days”.