2019 Photo Contest, General News, 3rd Prize

Fighting Ebola and Conflict


John Wessels

Agence France-Presse

13 November, 2018

MONUSCO soldiers patrol against the ADF, a partly Islamist group of Ugandan origin, in Beni, DRC.

Beni, in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), has been affected by conflict for over 25 years, and in 2018 had also to deal with a major outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus. Over 100 armed groups are estimated to be active in the region, with government troops backed by MONUSCO, a UN stabilization mission, battling with the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and other rebel groups. Attacks in and around the town spiked during the Ebola epidemic, which Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) called the second-largest recorded anywhere.The Ebola outbreak was first declared on 1 August, in the small town of Mangina, 30 km from Beni, and soon spread. By the end of the year, some 700 cases and over 460 deaths had been reported. Containing the highly contagious disease was almost impossible in a conflict situation. Widespread displacement made containing and tracking cases complicated and meant some stricken areas were difficult to access. Medical teams’ operations were disrupted, and misinformation about the disease was rife.

About the photographer

John Wessels

John Wessels was born in Johannesburg in 1987. He started his photojournalism career in 2014. He is currently based in Dakar, Senegal, and is the chief photographer in West Afric...

Technical information

Shutter Speed
Focal length
28 mm
Canon EOS 5D Mark III

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