GENEVA: With cases of the Ebola virus disease continuing to surface at unprecedented speed in West Africa, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) on Thursday called for additional funding to increase its response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
According to IFRC, it is expanding its emergency operations in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to reach millions more people through increased activities.
It has revised its three emergency appeals for Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to a total of 30.2 million Swiss francs (USD 33 million), an increase of 24 million Swiss francs (USD 26 million). The aim is now to reach a total of 21.9 million people, more than double the number of beneficiaries originally targeted.
“With dozens of new cases emerging daily, this outbreak is showing no signs of slowing down,” Alasan Senghore, IFRC Director in Africa, said in a statement.
“Affected communities are relying on us. People are dying. If we are serious about stopping Ebola, we cannot afford to delay ramping up our response. But to do that, we need additional resources, and we cannot do it alone. We must all work together to achieve this ambitious goal,” he added.
In Sierra Leone, the revised emergency appeal also covers a new 60-bed Ebola treatment center in Kenema district, one of the worst affected districts. An extraordinary allocation of the IFRC’s disaster relief emergency fund (DREF) of one million Swiss francs, also allowed for the deployment of an emergency response unit to Kenema to facilitate the start-up of the treatment center.
Since the outbreak was first declared in Guinea in March and throughout its spread to neighboring Liberia and Sierra Leone, thousands of Red Cross volunteers have been trained and deployed to support the response in all three countries. Their activities will be scaled up under the revised emergency appeals, and more than 5,600 volunteers will be trained to ensure larger geographical areas can be reached.
Following an Ebola outbreak in Nigeria, the IFRC has also launched an emergency appeal of 1.6 million Swiss francs (USD 1.7 million) to support the Nigerian Red Cross Society in assisting five million people over the next nine months. To date, there have been 17 confirmed Ebola cases in Nigeria and 6 confirmed deaths.