In view of the alarming spread of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the European Union has stepped up its relief assistance. The EU is providing additional €500 000 to enhance interventions aimed at curbing the worsening epidemic in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. This brings EU total aid to the Ebola crisis to €1.9 million, following on previous assistance decisions from last March and April.
“This is the worst outbreak ever of one of the deadliest diseases known to man. We cannot let down our guard - and we all have to step forward to help those who are courageously fighting the disease on the front line,” said Kristalina Georgieva, the EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response.
The funding will enable three organisations to sustain and expand their actions: Médecins Sans Frontières for the clinical management of cases; the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) Societies for community outreach and awareness-raising; and the World Health Organization for the reinforcement of the countries' health responses. Humanitarian experts from the Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) are deployed in the region, where they are monitoring the situation and liaising with local authorities and partners.
More than 325 cases of Ebola have been confirmed in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. First discovered in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Sudan in 1976, several outbreaks of this viral haemorrhagic fever had been reported in East and Central Africa, but never in West Africa. Highly contagious, human to human transmission of Ebola occurs by simple contact with blood and body fluids. No vaccine or treatment is yet available for this pathogen.