International Red Cross Issues Emergency Appeal to Halt New Ebola Outbreak in West Africa

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is appealing for $9.4 million to fund efforts to prevent a new Ebola outbreak from spreading across West Africa.

The IFRC said Monday the money will be used to step up “surveillance and community sensitization efforts” in Guinea, Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Senegal and Sierra Leone.

“Ebola does not care about borders,” said Mohammed Mukhier, the IFRC’s Regional Director for Africa. “Close social, cultural and economic ties between communities in Guinea and neighboring countries create a very serious risk of the virus spreading to Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire and Sierra Leone, and potentially even further.”

Health officials in Guinea declared an epidemic Sunday after three cases were detected in Gouécké, a rural community in N’Zerekore prefecture. At least one victim there has died. It is the first Ebola outbreak in Guinea since 2016.

The 2014 Ebola outbreak, the biggest in history, killed more than 11,000 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Guinea was expecting the delivery of 11,000 doses of Ebola vaccine from the World Health Organization Sunday, but the Reuters news agency says the shipment was delayed due to heavy dust brought by winds from the Sahara Desert. The shipment is now due to arrive in Conarky on Monday, with vaccination efforts due to begin on Tuesday.

Guinea is also expecting another 8,600 doses of vaccine from the United States.

There have also been four confirmed Ebola cases in the Democratic Republic of Congo, including two deaths. WHO has around 20 experts supporting national and provincial health authorities in the DRC.

The United Nations announced it is releasing $15 million from its emergency relief fund to help fight the outbreaks in both Guinea and the DRC.

Source: Voice of America