Labour MEPs have welcomed the decision to commit more than €150 million in EU funding to the fight against Ebola, in an urgent debate in Strasbourg today. €11.9m will go towards stopping the immediate spread of the deadly virus in West Africa, with a further €140m to build healthcare facilities in the four worst-affected countries.
Linda McAvan MEP, Labour MEP for Yorkshire and chair of the European Parliament international development committee, said:
"Part of my role as the chair of this committee is to ensure the EU reacts promptly to emergencies around the world - not only to direct aid where it is needed the most but to provide European taxpayers with assurances that money is being spent in the most effective way possible.
"There have been almost five thousand confirmed Ebola cases so far, with the number of cases nearly doubling every three weeks. The longer that the pandemic goes on, the greater the risk of the virus mutating, which could have truly devastating consequences.
"The world’s decision makers have been too slow to react to the danger and we must scale up our operations in order to avoid any further unnecessary deaths.
“Stopping the virus from reaching European shores is of the utmost importance for us."
The money will go primarily to the European Commission’s partners working on the front line, the World Health Organization, Médecins Sans Frontières, and the International Red Cross, with MEPs acknowledging the heroic efforts of voluntary aid workers.
Identifying and isolating patients, as well as training local health workers and supplying them with the equipment they need to protect both themselves and the wider community has been essential in curbing the spread of the disease.
Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Nigeria will benefit from the long-term development funding, which will provide humanitarian assistance to the populations directly affected by the epidemic, fund mobile laboratories and provide training for healthcare staff to improve hygiene and healthcare infrastructure to prevent a resurgence of the disease.