The ‘Karel Doorman’ vessel during its previous rotation to the region last month. Photo credit: EC/ECHO/Jan EIJKENAAR
A new batch of urgently needed medical and relief supplies is leaving to the Ebola-affected region in West Africa today on board of the Dutch ship “Karel Doorman”.
For the second time, as part of the coordinated European response to the Ebola outbreak, the Netherlands has offered to transport vital supplies. The vessel will carry some 5 000 tons of food, vehicles and medical supplies offered by EU Member States to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. In addition to shipping equipment, the EU has facilitated more than sixty airlifts of material offered by its Member States to the affected region.
Scaling up the response
A number of Member States have already sent assistance through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism or on a bilateral basis. The United Kingdom has set up two field hospitals and five treatment centres, and two mobile hospitals offered by the Netherlands are now operational in Sierra Leone and Guinea. France recently offered two medical teams for Guinea and Mali and Sweden deployed 42 medical personnel to Liberia via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. Greece recently announced a team of six medical personnel for the affected countries.
To speed up diagnosis and thus limit the transmission of infection, European Mobile Laboratories have been deployed to West Africa as well as laboratories made available by Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, France, Germany and the UK.
The Ebola epidemic in West Africa has taken a devastating toll. More than 18 000 people have been infected, over 6 500 of whom deceased as of 12 December 2014. The epidemic generates shortages in food, clean water and sanitation and heavily impacts the economies of the concerned countries.
The European Union has been active in the response to the Ebola emergency from the start. The EU has contributed to the fight against Ebola with over EUR 1.1 billion funding for humanitarian and development aid, early recovery assistance and medical research, has sent experts as well as emergency supplies and provided evacuation means for international health workers.