Europe Increases Aid for Ebola After Officials’ Trip to Africa
BRUSSELS—European Commissioner of Humanitarian Aid Christos Stylianides, and European Commissioner of Health Vytenis Adriukaitis, returned over the weekend from a trip to the three countries most affected by Ebola in West Africa.
The European Commission responded on Monday to the findings of the two commissioners with $36 million in new funding to fight the disease.
Twenty-one million will be spent on the transportation of vital supplies to Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia, and evacuation of medical personnel to European countries in the event they become sick while working there.
Fifteen million was allocated for early detection and public awareness measures to the neighbors of the affected countries.
This is in addition to over $1.3 billion already pledged by the European Union.
“Ebola disease remains a clear and present danger. Collective and coordinated action is needed in order to defeat this disease on the ground,” said Stylianides in a press conference in Brussels on Tuesday.
In all three countries, Stylianides, who is also the EU Ebola coordinator, said there are not adequate resources to fight the disease without outside help.
Commissioner Adriukaitis cited poverty and the nonexistent primary health care system there as key reasons for the spread of the epidemic, and one of the main hurdles in containing it.
Stylianides called on the EU to maintain a strong and long-term commitment to resolving the crisis there.
He predicted the recovery process would be long and difficult.
“For every Ebola grave there is at least one child who lost a parent,” Adriukaitis said, hinting at over 3,700 orphans the United Nation’s Children’s Fund (UNICEF) identified as of Oct. 7.
More than 5,000 people are known to have died from the disease, and more than 14,000 people have been infected.