Via ReliefWeb, a report from the IFRC: Red Cross Red Crescent calls for immediate scale-up of efforts in support of WHO and West African governments’ plan to tackle Ebola epidemic. Excerpt:
The joint 100 million US dollars plan, announced by WHO and the West African nations affected by the Ebola virus disease, is a positive step forward in affording the crucial means to tackle the spread of the deadly disease. However, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is gravely concerned over the slow and negligible response from international community and is calling for an immediate scale-up of efforts.
Only concerted action from the international community will enable the containment of this deadly virus. However, there is prevalent fear not only within the affected communities, but also within the international community to respond to the situation, which may hinder the rapid control the outbreak.
As the Ebola virus disease spreads out of control across some of the poorest countries in West Africa, the IFRC is intensifying its response to the emergency by sending an emergency response unit to Kenema, one of the worst affected areas in Sierra Leone.
The deployment was prompted by the urgent request from the government of Sierra Leone and the World Health Organization (WHO) to set up an isolation ward and provide clinical care to infected patients.
According to Panu Saaristo, the IFRC’s emergency health coordinator, “the Red Cross Red Crescent is extremely worried that the situation is spiralling out of control. The response capacity and resources of the government and humanitarian aid agencies in the affected countries are already stretched beyond the limit, and the virus continues to spread, making this the deadliest outbreak of Ebola ever.”
The situation has prompted the IFRC to make an exceptional allocation of 1 million Swiss francs from its disaster relief emergency fund (DREF) to mobilize an emergency response unit consisting of 15 international health workers and 7 support personnel as well as equipment to Sierra Leone.
“This fund is typically used to ensure that immediate financial support is available for Red Cross Red Crescent’s emergency response. The fact that we needed to allocate this amount from the DREF reflects the challenges in engaging the international community’s support. The last time such an amount was released was for the response to the Tsunami in 2004.”