3 Sep 2014
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In March 2014, a severe Ebola outbreak rippled through West Africa. In response to the crisis, the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) allocated some US$15.2 million to help humanitarian partners fight the epidemic.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Haemorrhagic fever symptoms first appeared in Guinea’s southern forested region in February 2014. Despite efforts to halt the spread of the virus, the number of people infected continued to rise and the epidemic spread to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria.

As the number of victims rose, the need for humanitarian assistance became crucial. CERF disbursed emergency grants to UN agencies responding to the outbreak.

Since April, WHO received $2.5 million from CERF to support preventive and control measures against Ebola in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone; and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) respectively received $2.3 million and $584,182 from CERF to respond to the epidemic.

CERF has also allocated $9.8 million to the World Food Program (WFP) for food and humanitarian air services in Guinea and Liberia. Following the latest allocation, WFP launched a regional emergency operation which will provide food assistance to around 1.3 million people in the three most affected countries.

“We are multiplying our efforts to bring food assistance to all people in need and to provide logistical support to sister agencies and non-governmental organizations working  to contain the virus and meet the basic needs of affected people,” said Denise Brown, WFP Regional Director for West Africa.

The WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan recently warned of the gravity of the situation: “This is a severe health crisis, and it can rapidly become a humanitarian crisis if we do not do more to stop transmission.”

To further consolidate and strengthen the international response to Ebola, the international and national partners drafted a roadmap response to the Ebola outbreak.  The roadmap aims to stop ongoing Ebola transmission worldwide within 6–9 months while rapidly managing the consequences of any further international spread of the disease.

Read more on CERF's response to the Ebola crisis here.