BRUSSELS, Belgium – West Africa is currently facing the largest and most complex Ebola epidemic on record. Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are the most affected countries. The disease has already claimed more than 6 000 lives and has seen over 17 000 cases.
The European Union has been monitoring its spread and taken collective action at home and abroad. It has mobilised political, financial and scientific resources to help contain, control, treat and ultimately defeat Ebola. On 24 October 2014 the European Council appointed Christos Stylianides, EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, as EU Ebola Coordinator. Between 12 and 16 November, he travelled to the three most affected countries together with the EU Commissioner for Health Vytenis Andriukaitis. On 5-7 December EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, followed up with a visit to Guinea Conakry to reaffirm the EU’s medium and long term support to affected and at-risk countries.
Since March 2014, the European Commission has allocated close to EUR 60 million in humanitarian funding to addresses the most urgent needs. These funds are channelled through humanitarian partner organisations, such as MSF, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, IMC, Save the Children, IRC, Alima, WFP’s Humanitarian Air Service, UNICEF and WHO. EU aid contributes to epidemic surveillance, diagnostics, treatment and medical supplies; deployment of doctors and nurses and training of health workers; raising awareness among the population and promotion of safe burials.
In addition to existing EU and bilateral development partnerships, the Commission is also providing some €210 million in development and early recovery assistance. The funds are thus being delivered now and into 2015. The objectives are to reinforce the capacity of governments to deliver vital public services, notably health care, and maintain macro-economic stability. These funds are also used to strengthen food security and improve water and sanitation. Mobile laboratories for the detection of the virus and training of health workers are also funded through the development assistance. Furthermore, the EU supports the African Union’s medical mission in West Africa.