The European Union has allocated €40 000 in humanitarian aid to help health workers and the inhabitants of the Central African Republic (CAR) to prepare for spread the Ebola epidemic which is already present in a neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The funds from the European Commission's European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) support the Central African Red Cross Society in organising activities related to the prevention, detection and management of Ebola cases, and awareness-raising. This funding is part of the EU's overall contribution to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
Five years of conflict have severely affected the provision of health services making CAR ill-equipped to deal with an epidemic. Humanitarian assistance aims to inform 432 000 people in the most-at-risk areas and to reinforce local capacity for the surveillance, prevention and treatment of possible cases to prevent the spread of Ebola.
The Ebola outbreak was officially declared in the DRC on 8 May (to date, there have been 35 confirmed cases and 25 deaths), and the World Health Organization has placed CAR on the at-risk list. The country shares a border of nearly 1 300 km with the DRC and sees continuous cross-border population movements, notably across the Ubangi River. More than one and a half million people in the Central African Republic would be at risk in the event of an epidemic.