Foreign Minister Ngafuan Updates Lawmakers On Ebola Donations

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Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe  Ngafuan has provided an update on financial and material assistance provided thus far by friendly Governments and humanitarian partners across the globe towards Liberia's fight against the Ebola virus.

Responding to a request from members of the House of Representatives to provide them an update on the number of donations coming to Liberia relative to the fight against Ebola, Minister Ngafuan told the body that as a result of frantic international engagements, the Liberian Government, led by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has attracted tremendous global assistance in the country's bid to fight the virus.

A Foreign Ministry release says Mr. Ngafuan highlighted the President's personal efforts, including written letters to significant members of the international community, among them the 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 United States President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela 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.

Commenting on the direct assistance attracted through the Foreign Ministry, the country's chief diplomat informed members of the 53rd Lower House that the Ministry had been engaging   its 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.

Addressing the 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.

Minister Ngafuan enumerated regional contributions in the fight against Ebola. He acknowledged the contributions of Europe through European Union and member states, Asian countries, the Americas and the African countries and African Union.

He lauded the European Union for US23 million budget support to Liberia and over US$200 million from European countries including Germany, Italy, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, France, Luxemburg and Netherlands.

As for the Asian region, Minister Ngafuan extolled China's multiple contributions, including cash, medical supplies and  personal protective equipments (PPE's), food assistance that valued US$4.9 million and commitment to construct an ETU.  The Foreign Minister recognized  Japan’s over US$25 million in contributions in materials and cash; and India’s donation of  materials and cash valued at over US$15 million. Other Asian nations have followed suit.

From the Americas, the Minister acknowledged the USAID’s direct budget support of US$10 million to the health sector.  He informed the House of US$70 million support through International NGOs working in Liberia. He disclosed the US Government plan to deploy 4,000 military personnel, the construction of 17 ETUs across the country,  the presence of Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the donation of three mobile Ebola testing laboratories for  Liberia.

Minister Ngafuan named Brazil’s food assistance valued over US$35 million, Canada and Venezuela for millions of dollars in  contributions through the UN system.

He also acknowledged the State of Israel for donating 20-bed mobile clinic with volunteers to fight Ebola.

The Foreign 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, respectively,  towards Ebola response.

Foreign Minister Ngafuan  singled 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-and-see posture.

He particularly hailed Nigeria for its humanitarian contribution towards the fight against the disease. The  Foreign Minister revealed that Nigeria is committed to deploy about 591 health workers in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone as part of efforts to curb the Ebola virus in the sub-region. Nigeria also  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 support from both bilateral and multilateral partners,  including the European Union (EU), the African Union (AU) and ECOWAS.

He told the House that the AU, as part of efforts to join the fight against the Ebola disease, had 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.

Minister Ngafuan then noted that some multinational financial institutions, especially World Bank and the African Development Bank, have made commitments toward the fight against Ebola.

He also noted philanthropic institutions, including the  Clinton Health Access Initiative, the 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.

The Foreign Minister however, 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 acceeded to the august body’s request to prepare a fact sheet for all donations for accountability and transparency.

The Foreign Minister's detailed update of the 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 the Foreign Minister to report to the Legislature “on the flow of international assistance and goodwill to this government through his office.”

According to Capitol Hill, there is a need for the public to have full knowledge of governments, individuals, and organizations providing support to Monrovia during this national health crisis period; whether the goodwill is in cash or kind.

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