EU humanitarian aid dispatched to contain Ebola outbreak

By agency reporter
May 22, 2018

The European Commission has announced a package of urgent humanitarian aid to help contain an outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo. An initial €1.5 million will provide logistics support to the World Health Organisation (WHO), and a further €130,000 offered to the International Federation of the Red Cross for life-saving interventions by the Congolese Red Cross. Moreover, the Commission's humanitarian air service ECHO Flight is due to transport medical experts and emergency staff as well as equipment to the affected areas.

"The EU is taking urgent action to help manage and contain the spread of this highly deadly disease. Our funding and humanitarian flight service will help get medical teams, equipment and supplies to the affected health zone which is a matter of urgency. We are working closely with the national authorities, the World Health Organisation and international partners in this joint effort. All must be done to isolate the Ebola cases, especially since there has been a case in Mbandaka city", said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides, who is also the EU Ebola Coordinator.

Commissioner Stylianides has been closely monitoring the situation and has been in contact with the WHO General Director Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The EU also stands ready to deploy the European Medical Corps, a voluntary pool of European specialist teams and medical assets if requested.

This EU funding will ensure deployment of relevant surge capacity to the affected areas, surveillance and contact tracing of Ebola victims as well as active case finding for early detection of those infected. It will also cover communication with affected communities on risks and what behaviour to take to prevent the spread of the disease including psycho-social support and preparedness for safe and dignified burials.  The EU's Copernicus Satellite will also provide emergency mapping services to assess the terrain and transport network in the area around Mbandaka and Bikoro.

The Commission operates a dedicated humanitarian air service called 'ECHO Flight' in African countries, with hubs in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Uganda and Mali. The service is free of charge for humanitarian partners and aid organisations and guarantees safe and fast transports of humanitarian personnel and supplies to remote locations.

* European Commission https://ec.europa.eu/commission/index_en

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