The Foreign Minister of Liberia, Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan, has provided updates on financial and material assistance provided by friendly Governments and humanitarian partners across the globe towards Liberia’s fight against the Ebola virus.
In response to request by members of the House of Representatives to provide update on donations coming to Liberia relative to the fight against Ebola, Minister Ngafuan told that august body that as a result of frantic international engagements, the Liberian Government, led by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has attracted numerous global assistance in the country’s bid to fight the virus.
Speaking with lawmakers on Thursday, October 16, 2014 on Capitol Hill, Minister Ngafuan indicated that the efforts of the Presidency and the Foreign Ministry and other sector ministries and agencies have translated into huge support coming in to help deal with the Ebola outbreak.
He enumerated regional contributions in the fight against Ebola and acknowledged contributions from Europe through the European Union and member states, Asian countries, the Americas, African countries and the African Union, respectively.
He highlighted President Sirleaf’s personal efforts, including written letters to significant members of the international community as well as Joint Communication, she and her Sierra Leonean and Guinean counterparts (Presidents Ernest Bai Koroma and Alpha Condo) wrote to the United Nations Secretary General, and personal letters she wrote to world leaders, including US President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Merkel, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as well as direct phone calls to other world leaders and partners.
As a result, Liberia has seen direct assistance from the UN, including its newly established special mission named the United Nations Mission for Emergency on Ebola Response (UNMEER), the arrival of over 3,000 US military personnel currently involved in the construction of additional Ebola Treatment Units (ETU’s) across the country; the direct involvement of the US-based Center For Disease Control (CDC), among others.
Detailing direct assistance attracted through the Foreign Ministry, Minister Ngafuan informed members of the House of Representatives that the Ministry has been engaging Embassies and Missions, friendly Governments across the world as a way of buttressing efforts of the Presidency in mobilizing international support to help battle against Ebola.
He lauded the European Union for US$23 million budget supports given to Liberia and over US$200 million from European countries, including Germany, Italy, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, France, Luxemburg and Netherlands.
For Asian region, Minister Ngafuan extolled China’s multiple contributions including cash, medical supplies and personnel, personal protective equipments (PPE’s), food assistance that valued US$4.9 million and commitment to construct an ETU while recognizing Japan’s efforts at over US$25 million contributions in materials and cash, India for contributing materials and cash valued at over US$15 million and other Asian nations have followed suit.
From the Americas, the Minister acknowledged USAID’s direct budget support of US$10 million to the health sector and informed the lawmakers of US$70 million support through International NGOs working in Liberia.
He said the US Government plans to deploy 4,000 military personnel in Liberia, construct 17 ETUs across the country, including the presence of the Center for Disease Control and donation of 3 mobile Ebola testing laboratories for the country. He hailed Brazil for food assistance valued over US$35 million, Canada and Venezuela for millions of dollar contribution through the UN system. Ngafuan also acknowledged the State of Israel for donating 20-bed mobile clinic with volunteers to fight Ebola.
The minister then named several African countries including the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Botswana, Kenya, and Morocco that have joined the fight against the Ebola disease, further disclosing that Botswana and Kenya have provided US$65,000 and US$100,000 towards Ebola response respectively while signaling out Morocco as an African country that has allowed its airline to fly in and out of Liberia despite the outbreak in the midst of other international carriers adopting a wait-posture.
Particularly hailing Nigeria for its humanitarian contribution towards the fight against the disease, the Foreign Minister revealed Nigeria’s commitment to deploy about 591 health workers in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone as part of efforts to curbing the Ebola virus in the region.
He also disclosed that Nigeria made a kind donation of US$500,000 of which US$400,000 is going towards ECOWAS Ebola Trust Fund on Ebola Response while US$100,000 is committed to enhancing the Liberian Government’s fight. Minister Ngafuan also disclosed that the Government has received supports from both bilateral and multilateral partners, including the European Union (EU), the African Union (AU) and ECOWAS.
He said the AU has, as part of efforts to join the fight against the Ebola disease, deployed 36 medical experts and personnel to Liberia, serving under the AU Support to Ebola Outbreak in West Africa (ASEOWA) which sprang out of an emergency meeting of foreign ministers held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in September.
The Minister noted that some multinational financial institutions specially World Bank and the African Development Bank have made commitment towards the fight against Ebola, naming philanthropic institutions, including Clinton Health Access Initiative, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Ahmadiyya Muslim of UK amongst others that have also contributed towards the fight against the virus, making cash contributions. He named the United Bank for Africa (UBA) US$100,000 donation towards Ebola eradication, among others.
He further noted that most of the donations from friendly nations are being channeled through the WHO, UNICEF, WFP and international NGOs instead of the Trust Fund for Ebola. He consented with the august body request to prepare a fact sheets for all donations for accountability and transparency.
The Foreign Minister’s detailed update of Ebola response from friendly governments and bilateral and multination partners followed an endorsement of a request from Nimba County Representative Worlea-Saywah Dunah to invite him to report to the Legislature “on the flow of international assistance and goodwill to this government through his office.”