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There is a risk of Ebola spreading to neighbouring countries given intense cross-border movements in the region. The EU is providing 41.4 million RWF (€40 000) in humanitarian funding to reinforce actions that can prevent transmission into Rwanda and help the country prepare for possible Ebola cases.
“We can never be complacent when it comes to health threats such as Ebola. The European Union has been at the forefront of efforts to treat those affected by the virus and contain its spread. We have mobilised the EU emergency response mechanisms, provided logistical support and contributed to vaccine development. Our support to the Rwanda Red Cross will help to take much needed action to prevent the epidemic from spreading cross border,” said Commissioner of Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management and the EU Ebola Coordinator Christos Stylianides.
The EU funds will allow the Rwanda Red Cross to reinforce preparedness and prevention in the 10 districts bordering DRC (Rusizi, Nyamasheke, Karongi, Rutsiro, Rubavu), Uganda (Nyabihu, Musanze, Burera, Gicumbi, Nyagatare) and in Kigali city. 550 Red Cross volunteers will be trained in contact tracing, informing and engaging with communities, and carrying out safe and dignified burials. Others will be taught how to take infection, prevention and control measures and provide psychosocial support to affected people and communities. The activities will potentially benefit 1.25 million people over the next 3 months. They are in line with Rwanda’s preparedness plan and complementary to actions of other partners on the ground.
The funding is part of the EU's overall contribution to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
North Kivu is just 370 kilometres from the Rwanda-DRC border that sees 45 000 to 60 000 people cross daily, mostly for trade and business. Insecurity and community resistance in eastern DRC are hindering efforts to contain the disease. Rwanda is among the most densely populated countries in sub-Saharan Africa. High population density can favour the propagation of infectious diseases such as Ebola. Since this outbreak was declared on 1 August 2018, 151 cases of Ebola have been reported in eastern DRC.
About EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid
The European Union and its Member States are the world's leading donor of humanitarian aid. Relief assistance is an expression of European solidarity with people in need all around the world. It aims to save lives, prevent and alleviate human suffering, and safeguard the integrity and human dignity of populations affected by natural disasters and man-made crises.
Through its Civil Protection and Humanitarian aid Operations department (ECHO), the European Union helps millions of victims of conflict and disasters every year. With headquarters in Brussels and a global network of field offices, the EU provides assistance to the most vulnerable people on the basis of humanitarian needs.
About the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund
The European Commission has signed a €3 million humanitarian delegation agreement with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF). Funds from the DREF are mainly allocated to “small-scale” disasters – those that do not give rise to a formal international appeal.
The Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) was established in 1985 and is supported by contributions from donors. Each time a National Red Cross or Red Crescent Society needs immediate financial support to respond to a disaster, it can request funds from the DREF. For small-scale disasters, the IFRC allocates grants from the Fund, which can then be replenished by the donors. The delegation agreement between the IFRC and ECHO enables the latter to replenish the DREF for agreed operations (that fit in with its humanitarian mandate) up to a total of €3 million.
For further information, please contact:
Press and Information Officer
Delegation of the European Union to Rwanda
Tel: +250 (0)788198154; Mob: +250 (0)788830866