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EBOLA Outbreak in West Africa

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is unprecedented in terms of its geographical scope and numbers, making it a major global concern. Unless action is urgently and massively increased, the Ebola outbreak ravaging communities across West Africa will continue to threaten the lives of millions of people. The scale of the crisis is unique, with dire and far reaching consequences. The world’s response must equal the extraordinary and unprecedented challenge that Ebola represents.

As of 20 October, 9936 cases of Ebola have been reported, with 4877 deaths. The World Health Organization estimates that the number of cases in the most affected countries - Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone - could reach 10,000 cases per week by December. An estimated 8.5 million children and youth under 20 years old live in Ebola-affected areas. Of them, 2.5 million are under the age of five. Children are not only facing the risk of being infected by the virus but are also being significantly affected in many other ways.

The potential long-term impact of this crisis – on economic growth, education, employment, social services – can be minimized if affected countries are not isolated. As countries protect their populations, economic ties with affected countries need to be maintained to reduce further shocks and ensure access to social services for children and families. Neighbouring countries will need to maintain critical access for supplies and personnel to the affected countries.

Wacth this video to know what is UNICEF doing about Ebola in West Africa. To watch this and other videos click here.

In line with the UN inter-agency response strategy for the Ebola Outbreak, UNICEF is appealing for US$200 million to support the needs of women and children affected by the Ebola crisis in West Africa. This includes US$189.7 million for the response in three outbreak countries (Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone) and regional coordination, as well as US$10.5 million for critical prevention and preparedness efforts in eight at-risk countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal).

Five ways UNICEF is fighting Ebola

1. Delivering supplies
We are delivering supplies that are important for the treatment and care of people who are sick with Ebola, and for continued supply of basic services. We continue to airlift essential supplies to the affected countries on a massive scale. By the first week of October we will have delivered 1300 metric tonnes and mobilized 55 flights.

2. Helping families protect themselves
In the coming weeks, we will be focusing on packing and shipping 50,000 Household Protection Kits. These kits contain gloves, gowns, masks, soap, chlorine and buckets. The first 9,000 of these will leave this week for Liberia. The Household Protection Kits complement the Family Hygiene kits which are already being packed and distributed in the country.

3. Preparing at-risk countries
UNICEF is also working with Governments in at-risk and neighbouring countries to prepare them for possible Ebola outbreaks. We are already sharing information with communities and developing contingency plans and stockpiles.

4. Sending in extra staff
Building on our existing country presence in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, we are bringing in 67 additional staff members to these three most-affected countries. Another 37 staff members will be deployed in the coming weeks. We’re seeking committed professionals to join our Ebola emergency response team in West Africa.

5. Raising more funds to fight Ebola
We sent more than USD 7 million of our own resources to respond to the Ebola outbreak, including almost USD 4 million to Liberia alone. We have received approximately US 7.5 million from donors, but this is only 4 per cent of the total of USD 200 million we need to respond to this crisis. Donate to help stop the spread of Ebola.

Learn all about current Ebola outbreak, its symptoms, how it is spread, and how to prevent it:

Children face direct risks of exposure to the virus, as well as secondary risks as a result of the loss of infected caregivers and family members. As basic service delivery becomes strained as a result of the outbreak, children’s access to health care, education and protection services is disrupted, increasing their vulnerability and risk in both the immediate and the long term.

To read more about UNICEF in the Ebola crisis click here



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