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 Organization (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.
The EU funding announced today 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 EU has been providing humanitarian assistance to the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1994. Over the last past 5 years, the Commission alone supported humanitarian aid operations with more than €200 million. €620 million in development funding has also been allocated for the period 2014-2020, focusing mainly on health, environment and sustainable agriculture, infrastructure, as well as governance and the rule of law.
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 itguarantees safe and fast transports of humanitarian personnel and supplies to remote locations.
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