Oxfam reaction to EU leaders’ response to Ebola crisis
At today’s EU summit, European leaders collectively pledged to raise their financial contribution to help respond to the Ebola crisis, bringing Europe’s total commitment to €1 billion.
In response to today’s announcement, Natalia Alonso, Oxfam’s Deputy Director of Advocacy & Campaigns, said:
“It’s excellent news that EU leaders are stepping up to stop Ebola spreading, showing real leadership. But what’s needed now is to urgently turn these pledges into cash on the ground. As the number of cases is doubling every 20 days, the cost of delay is devastating.”
“In addition to money, we welcome the EU leaders’ commitment to provide more medical and support staff. Military personnel and resources must also be urgently deployed to enable a rapid scale up.”
What’s the situation on the ground now?
The number of Ebola cases, and suspected Ebola cases, has now reached nearly 10,000 and the outbreak has claimed over 4,800 lives. It is widespread in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, with isolated cases elsewhere. Outbreaks in Nigeria and Senegal have been contained.
Infection rates continue to grow with the number of cases doubling about every 20 days. The WHO has put the death rate from this outbreak at 70 percent and has warned that there could be 10,000 new cases a week in West Africa by December.
But these numbers vastly understate the impact of the crisis as health services have collapsed in Sierra Leone and Liberia, other routine diseases go untreated, schools are closed, poor people are losing their income as fields, markets and goods have become inaccessible, and panic and fear spreads in an already fragile region.
What is Oxfam doing about Ebola?
Our focus is to prevent the spread of the disease. Oxfam is tripling its Ebola prevention program in Sierra Leone and Liberia and aims to help over four million people at risk of catching the disease.
Oxfam is significantly stepping up its water and sanitation supply to Ebola treatment centers and community care centers, and its supply of hygiene materials in Sierra Leone and Liberia. It is also boosting its mass public information campaign over the radio, billboards and text messages about how people can best protect themselves from catching the disease.
Oxfam is providing water supplies at treatment and isolation centers, hand washing facilities in community areas, hygiene kits to communities (soap, bleach etc), supplying of personal protective clothing for front line community health workers and burial teams, and training for community health workers.
Angela Corbalán on + 32 (0) 473 56 22 60 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For updates, please follow @Oxfam.
The public can support Oxfam's Ebola response.