24.11.14

Announcement of Fresh Irish Aid Funding for Ebola Hit Communities a Hugh Boost-Plan Ireland

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23rd November 2014

The announcement this afternoon by the Department of Foreign Affairs of additional funding of €220,000 to respond to the Ebola relief effort in West Africa is a huge boost, NGO Plan Ireland has said today.

The money will be distributed through Plan and will support families in Sierra Leone who have been quarantined as a result of Ebola by providing food packages, fuel and other vital supplies.

Plan Ireland’s Emergency Response Manager, Dualta Roughneen, who has just returned from Sierra Leone said; “As well as taking the lives of over 5,000 people, the deadly Ebola virus is having a wider societal impact. The closure of boarders has inhibited commerce and trade leading to a shortage of food and basic items. In addition, those people kept in quarantine are unable to go about their daily business, make a living or even buy food. This funding will provide necessary food and basic commodities to those families and communities who have been left isolated and without staple provisions.

These communities must receive the essential assistance they need. I have seen at first hand the fragility of the systems combating this disease and this funding will aid in that fight. Bringing the Ebola outbreak under control will be impossible without the full engagement of local communities in the response.”

Speaking from West Africa, Plan Ireland’s Damien Queally said:

“The countries battling Ebola are among the poorest in the world and the public health systems across West Africa are fragile. The impacted countries desperately need financial and technical assistance to avoid the situation worsening further.

Every day, families are losing loved ones and children are at risk of death or being orphaned. But something can be done. For instance, for as little as €25, a hygiene kit for 25 families will mean children can wash and disinfect, €29 will mean that 100 people have a secure hand washing facility while €49 can provide a protective suit for staff working in treatments centres

Since the outbreak, Plan has been responding by disseminating public health information and providing material support to contain the spread of the disease.  We have also trained volunteers to disinfect public and household latrines, treated the homes of suspected cases, and set up hand washing systems in schools and public areas.

Plan has been working in the three worst hit countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia since the 1980s.