European Commission To Support Ebola Outbreak

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The European Commission will provide 132 million euros (171 million dollars) in new funding to help fight the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the European Union’s executive announced Friday, increasing its aid for the crisis more than tenfold.

european commission
european commission

“The situation is going from bad to worse, despite the brave efforts of humanitarian organizations,” EU Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva said in a statement. “The needs are outpacing the international community’s capacity to react.”

Some 1,900 people have died in the outbreak, with cases reported in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. More than 20,000 people could end up being infected with the deadly virus before the outbreak can be contained, the World Health Organization (WHO) said last week.

It has estimated that at least 600 million dollars in aid is needed to control the epidemic if transmission of the lethal virus is to be halted within the next six to nine months.

The EU had previously pledged 11.9 million euros in humanitarian aid for the crisis.

The 140-million-euro package announced on Friday – which includes 8 million euros of already previously pledged funds – will be used to strengthen health care systems in affected countries, provide mobile laboratories and offer budget support to Liberia and Sierra Leone.

“The ongoing Ebola crisis remains extremely concerning not just because of its obvious impact on health services, but also due to the wider challenges it brings to the region in terms of economic stability, food security, water and sanitation,” EU Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs noted.

The United Nations, for its part, has funelled more than 6 million dollars to humanitarian organizations in West Africa since April through its central emergency reponse fund, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said Friday.

Guinea has received 2.7 million dollars, while Liberia and Sierra Leone have been provided with 1.9 million dollars and 1.5 million dollars respectively, according to OCHA.

The search for a vaccine has also been proceeding, with researchers saying on Thursday that the first Ebola vaccine had been administered to healthy adults after having been tested on monkeys.

But the WHO has warned that current stocks of experimental Ebola drugs will be too small to immediately stop the virus outbreak in West Africa.

The organization was holding Friday a second day of talks with drug company representatives, scientists and health officials in Geneva.
GNA

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