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Minister Sherlock announces funding and supplies to tackle Ebola

Health, News/feature, Africa, Liberia, Sierra Leone, 2014

Minister Sherlock announces over €600,000 in funding and a major dispatch of emergency supplies to tackle Ebola in West Africa

Minister for Development, Trade Promotion and North South Co-operation, Seán Sherlock T.D., today announced €600,000 in funding to support communities battling the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone and Liberia, the two countries which have been worst affected by the epidemic. 

Ireland will also provide 42 tonnes of emergency supplies, including blankets, tents, mosquito nets and water tanks.
Announcing the emergency aid, Minister Sherlock said:

 "I am gravely concerned about the continued spread of Ebola and the devastating impact on communities and families in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. Many of the people affected were already extremely vulnerable.  

“The Ebola epidemic in West Africa is the worst ever, with more than 5,000 people now reported to have been infected. Health services in these countries are already over-whelmed and the World Health Organisation has warned of an exponential increase in Ebola cases over the coming months.”  

Ireland will provide over €600,000 to UNICEF to provide life-saving nutritional supplies to children who have been affected by the crisis.  Minister Sherlock also announced that more than 42 tonnes of Irish stocks including blankets, tarpaulins,  tents, mosquito nets, jerry cans and soap, will be airlifted from the UN Humanitarian Response Depot in Ghana. They will be distributed by the World Food Programme, Goal, and Concern, to assist survivors of Ebola and affected vulnerable children in Sierra Leone.
Minister Sherlock added:
“A member of Ireland’s Rapid Response Corps was deployed last weekend to Dakar, Senegal, to work with the World Food Programme to set up an air transit centre for use by the UN Humanitarian Air Service.”

Minister Sherlock called on the international community to urgently scale up their efforts to combat the epidemic: 

 “While the international response has improved significantly, we must do more to prevent further spread. Ireland is playing our part. This additional funding and the deployments of Irish emergency stocks are the latest in a series of steps I have authorised to scale up our efforts to fight the Ebola virus.” 


Notes to the editor:
• Irish Aid is the Government’s overseas assistance programme. It is managed by the Development Cooperation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. For further information see
• The Ebola outbreak began in Guinea in March 2014 has since spread rapidly to Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and most recently Senegal. The WHO has declared a Public Health Emergency of International concern with 4,963 cases with 2453 deaths.
• Ireland has already provided funding of €350,000 to organisations working on the Ebola response in Sierra Leone and Liberia. 
• A further €350,000 has been provided by the Start Fund, which is an NGO pooled fund mechanism supported by Ireland and the UK. 
• Sierra Leone is a key partner country for Ireland and bilateral programme aid from Ireland to Sierra Leone was €3.9 million in 2013, with over €2m spent on health and nutrition programmes.
• Liberia is a partner country for Ireland and bilateral programme aid from Ireland to Liberia from Ireland was €5.6 million in 2013.  There is a strong focus on strengthening basic primary health care services.
• In addition to bilateral aid, Ireland provides funding of approximately €6.8 million per annum for long-term development assistance to NGOs, as well as Irish missionaries, in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. This supports programmes in the areas of health, food and livelihoods, education and human rights.
• As part of Ireland’s Rapid Response Initiative, Irish Aid pre-positions emergency humanitarian stocks within the UN Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD) network of hubs around the globe.  These hubs are strategically located near disaster-prone areas - in Accra (Ghana), Brindisi (Italy), Dubai (UAE), Panama City (Panama) and Subang (Malaysia) - within airport complexes and close to ports and main roads.
• Irish Aid also manages the Rapid Response Corps, a register of highly skilled individuals who are willing to deploy at short notice to assist in an emergency relief effort. In September, Ireland will deploy one member to Senegal, to work with the World Food Programme to set up an air transit centre for use by the UN Humanitarian Air Service.
• The United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) is managed by the World Food Programme and provides air transport services to over 700 humanitarian organisations operating around the world.
• Ireland is also contributing human resources - the Department of Health has deployed two public health specialists to work with WHO to assist efforts in both Liberia and Nigeria.