World Bank approves 105 mln USD to stem Ebola in West Africa
The World Bank Group (WBG) on Tuesday approved a 105-million-U.S.-dollar grant to stem the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in three West African countries as the epidemic has claimed over 2,400 lives since earlier this year, Xinhua reported.
The grant is to finance Ebola-containment efforts underway in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.
It will also help families and communities cope with the economic impact of the crisis and rebuild and strengthen essential public health systems in the three worst-affected countries.
A statement received from the Ghana country of the World Bank here, which is also responsible for Liberia and Sierra Leone, said: "The new grant is part of the 200 million dollars Ebola emergency mobilization first announced by the WBG in early August."
The statement said the WBG's new Ebola Emergency Response project would mobilize 52 million dollars for Liberia, the country with the highest number of Ebola infections, 28 million dollars for Sierra Leone, and 25 million dollars for Guinea.
"The allocations were calculated according to the roadmap of the World Health Organization (WHO) and assessments of the relative severity of the epidemic in each country," the statement explained.
The bank pledged its readiness to mobilize more financing for the countries since "the immediate response is still significantly under-resourced for the purposes of curbing the outbreak".
World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, a medical doctor trained in treatment of infectious diseases, said the Ebola grant would have a long-term regional development impact, adding that "it is an important part of a coordinated international response led by the United Nations and the World Health Organization".
"The world needs to do much, much more to respond to the Ebola crisis in these three countries," he said.
"This new World Bank grant, which will arrive soon in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, will have an immediate, positive impact on their collective Ebola containment campaigns. I would like to personally thank our Board of Directors for responding so quickly to this crisis," said Kim.
The bank noted in its project document for the new operation that Ebola-related restriction on people's movements "is leading to food crises in the quarantined and most affected areas where the three countries intersect".
"In the Mano River region, food insecurity is spreading rapidly. More than 1 million people in the region are facing a food crisis in the coming months.
"Furthermore, as the crisis continues to evolve, this threat may spread to other areas due to quarantine or other disruptions in movement of goods and people," the document said.
The WHO estimates that over 2,400 people have died in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria from the disease, with double that number having suffered from infections.