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Ebola Crisis: EU organises airlift operation to West Africa

EU News 403/2014

Brussels, 7 October 2014

The European Union is scaling up its response to the Ebola disease in West Africa with an airlift operation to the affected countries. The European Commission's Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) will facilitate the transportation of relief items to West Africa. In addition, the EU will fund and coordinate if necessary the evacuation of international staff from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

A quarter of the new €4 million funding will be allocated to UNICEF, enabling three Boeing 747 cargo planes to transport vital material to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. The first plane will take-off on Friday, carrying 100 metric tons of emergency equipment from Amsterdam to Freetown, Sierra Leone. The supplies and equipment include personal protection equipment, including masks and gloves, as well as essential medicines and hygiene supplies.

In addition, the remaining €3 million will help in the setting up of a medical evacuation system, coordinated by the ERCC, that will enable international workers in West Africa diagnosed with the Ebola virus disease (EVD) to be evacuated in less than 48 hours by plane to hospitals within Europe that are equipped to deal with the disease.

This initiative is funded from €30 million in humanitarian aid announced by the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, in New York last month during a High Level Meeting in response to the Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak convened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon.

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