NEW YORK (September 16, 2014) – UNICEF said today it needs over $200 million to respond to the Ebola outbreak that has claimed more than 2,400 lives and ravaged communities across West Africa. This is part of a broader, six-month appeal for $987.8 million that governments and humanitarian agencies require to fight the disease.
“Ebola is killing people and undermining futures,” said Afshan Khan, UNICEF Director of Emergency Programs. “It is closing schools, destroying health systems and threatening the very fabric of communities. This is a crisis of enormous proportions.”
Of the $200 million, nearly $65 million will go to UNICEF’s programs in Liberia, around $61 million to Sierra Leone and more than $55 million to Guinea. An additional $10 million will help neighboring countries be prepared for a potential spread of the disease within their borders. The remaining $9 million are required for regional coordination efforts.
UNICEF estimates that 8.5 million children and young people under the age of 20 live in areas affected by Ebola in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Of these, 2.5 million are under the age of five.
From working with communities to raise awareness of the disease and providing essential hygiene supplies since the first days of the outbreak, UNICEF has stepped up its response as Ebola continues its deadly spiral. The children’s agency, present in all affected countries, has been rushing in essential supplies and providing lifesaving information in the heart of affected communities on how families can protect themselves.
Examples of such effort by UNICEF and its partners include:
- With support from the World Bank, Japan and USAID, airlifting 544 metric tons of supplies to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, with almost 50 flights since early August. These supplies include protective equipment, hygiene items and essential medicines.
- Supporting the Government of Sierra Leone in conducting a three-day public awareness campaign, by helping train volunteers and providing accurate information on Ebola.
- Installing water and sanitation facilities in Ebola treatment units in the three countries.
- Training community health volunteers, teachers and others and help spread life-saving information on Ebola.
- Working to avert non-Ebola disease outbreaks and provide basic services to women and children.
- Providing psychosocial support to children affected by Ebola.
“We need to work with communities,” Khan said. “We can save lives now if every country, every agency that has the means to support, does so.”
Photos and video from Ebola-affected countries can be downloaded from: http://uni.cf/1xZAb39
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The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in 190 countries and territories to save and improve children’s lives, providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF’s work through fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when zero children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit www.unicefusa.org.
For additional information, please contact:
Susannah Masur, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.880.9146, firstname.lastname@example.org