The EU has announced an additional €2 million to respond to the worst Ebola outbreak ever recorded. This tops up the previous Commission aid of €1.9 Million, following on the three previous assistance decisions from March, April and June.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), this is the largest recorded outbreak in terms of number of cases, deaths and geographical spread. To date, the outbreak has recorded 1200 cases in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, resulting in over 650 deaths. Health workers remain particularly vulnerable; in the last week alone, at least 4 doctors and 10 other health staff were infected.
The additional funds will help contain the expansion of the epidemic and ensure immediate healthcare to the affected populations. They will further support the implementation of priority actions through partner organisations (WHO, Médecins Sans Frontières and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies), including situation assessments and epidemiological surveillance, coordination with local health authorities, support for the clinical management of cases and the promotion of community awareness.
"The level of contamination on the ground remains extremely worrying and we need to scale up our action before many more lives are lost," said Kristalina Georgieva, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response. "I want to pay tribute to the health workers who strive around the clock to help the victims and prevent further contagion, often at serious risk to their own lives. The EU itself has deployed experts to the affected countries to help assess the situation and coordinate with the authorities. But we need a sustained effort from the international community to help West Africa deal with this menace".
Since first discovered in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan in 1976, this is the first Ebola virus outbreak registered in the West African region.
As of 28 July, 445 cases have been reported in Guinea, including 327 deaths. In Liberia 214 cases have been registered with close to 136 deaths. In, Sierra Leone, there have been 541 cases and 192 deaths. One case (who died on 26 July) has also been confirmed in Lagos, Nigeria. Suspected cases in other West African countries have been tested negative.