The Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, released $500,000 from the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) on Wednesday, 6 March 2019.
This is to support the creation of a regional common logistics services staging area in Entebbe, Uganda, to strengthen Ebola readiness and response in the region.
According to a statement from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the new logistics centre, led by the World Food Programme (WFP) as the lead agency for common logistics services for both United Nations agencies and non-governmental organization, will support early action in countries neighbouring the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the epicentre of the current Ebola outbreak, to prevent the spread of the disease and respond if needed.
The staging area will also support ongoing Ebola response in the DRC to the extent required.
“We are very grateful to CERF and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) for this timely contribution and urge other donors to support preparedness and the emergency response to stop and push back Ebola. In particular, we still need additional support for the logistics staging area in Entebbe,” said WFP East Africa Regional Director Erika Joergensen.
The allocation for the staging area is part of a $10.5 million regional contribution from the CERF towards mitigating the possible impact of the current Ebola outbreak should it spread to countries neighbouring the DRC.
Under this allocation, $3.8 million has been provided to Uganda, $2.4 million to Burundi, $2 million to South Sudan and $1.8 million to Rwanda, in addition to the $500,000 provided for the regional staging area.
These CERF funds will enable early action and the acceleration of preparedness measures, including stepping-up surveillance, community mobilization, crisis communication, vaccination campaigns and training of health workers.
“We welcome this life-saving contribution from CERF to cover one of the critical gaps in Ebola readiness – logistics,” said Dr Ibrahima Socé Fall, the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Emergencies Director for Africa.
“WHO calls on donors to invest in emergency preparedness and step up funding for early action in neighbouring countries.”
The Ebola outbreak in the DRC is the second worst in history with nearly 900 cases and more than 560 deaths recorded since it was declared on 1 August 2018, according to WHO.