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New European assistance is on its way to West Africa to help the fight against the Ebola epidemic. A Dutch ship is sailing off today from Den Helder port in the Netherlands, loaded with ambulances, mobile hospitals, laboratories and other equipment. The cargo has been provided by nine Member States (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, and the UK) as well as the UN Children Fund (UNICEF). This is the biggest single transport operation organised through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism for this crisis. It has been coordinated by the Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC).
At the same time, Luxembourg has given an essential boost to the EU’s capacity to conduct medical evacuations of international aid workers who have been working on the Ebola response in the affected region. It became the first EU Member State to commit aeroplanes for medical evacuation of the international humanitarian workers diagnosed with Ebola. The planes will be available for two years and can perform 48 flights. The European Commission will co-fund their retrofitting, protective equipment, training for the medical personnel as well as up to 85% of the transport costs when the planes are used in operations under the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
The European Union has been active in the response to the Ebola emergency from its start. Collectively, Member States and the European Commission have mobilized more than €1 Billion in assistance. On 24 October 2014 the European Council appointed Christos Stylianides as the EU Ebola Coordinator.
Mobile laboratories, humanitarian experts, and specialists in dangerous infectious diseases have been deployed to the region. Under the coordination of the European Commission, Member States have provided material assistance, including protective medical equipment, ambulances, and field hospitals. The Commission is supporting the building and recovery of the health services of the affected countries and is funding research into Ebola vaccines.