EU member states step up aid to Ebola-hit West Africa

U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson (center), Guinean President Alpha Conde (left) and Sierra Leone’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Samura M.W. Kamara (right) at a high-level meeting Sept. 25 on the Ebola response. Photo by: Rick Bajornas / United Nations

Financial support for the Ebola crisis in West Africa poured in Sept. 25 at a high-level meeting on the margins of the 69th U.N. General Assembly annual debate in New York.

During the event — attended by more than two dozen world leaders, including Guinean President Alpha Conde — outgoing European Commission President José Manuel Barroso announced a new aid package worth 30 million euros ($38.25 million) for the growing epidemic. This comes on top of the nearly 150 million euros the European Union pledged between March and September.

The new aid package, however, is just one part of the EU response to the epidemic. Many of the bloc’s 28 member states have also been announcing support — in cash, in kind or by mobilizing human resources. Below, we’ve highlighted contributions from eight of the most generous member states — according to their official development assistance to gross national income ratio — to the Ebola response.

▪ Sweden had committed $4.3 million as of late September, according to U.N. data, pledging a similar amount to the World Health Organization’s regional response to the outbreak. At the U.N. event, former Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation Hillevi Engström hinted at the possibility of hundreds of millions more, as well as the likelihood of her country providing medical personnel and technical assistance.

▪ Luxembourg had contributed 330,000 euros since May 2014, including 100,000 euros each for the WHO, the World Food Program and Médecins Sans Frontières.

 Denmark had donated roughly $11 million to the crisis. Its latest $6.83 million commitment covered costs for the maritime transport of humanitarian supplies, the establishment of accommodation facilities for international health care workers, as well as WHO activities.

▪ One of the largest donors to the crisis, the United Kingdom had committed 100 million pounds ($163.15 million) to the Ebola response to date. This assistance was not restricted to direct medical support and was also being used for the deployment of medical and military staff, the construction of treatment centers and a logistical hub in Sierra Leone, efforts to increase public awareness of the virus, as well as scaling up research into treatment, vaccines and more efficient responses to future crises.

▪ Lilianne Ploumen, the Netherlands’ minister for foreign trade and development cooperation, announced at the Sept. 25 U.N. meeting 3.8 million euros in fresh support for the Ebola pandemic. This money had been allocated for water and sanitation efforts in the three most affected West African countries, and came on top of the 15 million euros the Dutch government had allocated through its newly created Relief Fund. The Netherlands previously released 300,000 euros to support the Ebola response.

 Finland also announced in September new funding amounting to 920,000 euros, bringing its total support for the crisis to 1.7 million euros.

▪ France pledged 70 million euros for the Ebola response at the event and remains at the forefront of the EU’s response to the ongoing crisis.

▪ Ireland had, to date, announced financial contributions amounting to nearly 950,000 euros for the Ebola outbreak, the bulk of which went to several of its implementing partners. At the time, its most recent 600,000-euro contribution was channeled to UNICEF’s nutrition project in Ebola-hit countries. Ireland had also made available several nonfinancial contributions, including last week’s dispatch of 42 tons of supplies such as blankets, tarpaulins, tents, mosquito nets, soap bars, jerry cans and water tanks.

Other EU member states also stepped up to the plate, even those with relatively smaller ODA budgets. Austria, for example, this month announced 200,000 euros for a health worker training program spearheaded by World Vision. Slovakia pledged 15,000 euros for WHO, while Poland committed 120,000 euros for WHO and 100,000 euros for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ regional office in Senegal. Portugal, meanwhile, sent two ambulances to Guinea via military plane, and Estonia’s foreign ministry announced an additional 40,000 euros to the U.N. trust fund. It previously allocated 60,000 euros for WHO.

Meanwhile, 2014 Swiss Confederation President Didier Burkhalter committed 5 million Swiss francs ($5.3 million) at the event for its multilateral partners working to stem the outbreak. Switzerland previously made available 3.65 million Swiss francs for the crisis.

Diederik Kramers contributed reporting.

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About the author

  • Ravelo jennylei

    Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.