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At the UNGA: UNICEF Canada’s President & CEO, David Morley, responds to Minister Paradis’ announcement of $30 million for Ebola

2014-09-25

NEW YORK, September 25, 2014 – Today at the United Nations General Assembly, Minister Paradis announced $30 million for the Ebola response in West Africa. David Morley, UNICEF Canada’s President and CEO, had the following response to this funding commitment:

“Ebola is spreading like wildfire across West Africa, putting 10 million children at risk. This is a crisis of unprecedented proportions in our lifetime and the response must be equally large in scale, swift and effective in order to save lives and contain the spread of this deadly disease. We are pleased with Canada’s commitment of $30 million today. Support from Canada and other donor countries can’t come quickly enough as the spread of Ebola is outpacing global efforts to combat it.

New cases are reported every day—and tens of thousands of new cases are expected in the coming months. Children’s lives and futures are under grave threat as this disease devastates families and communities. West Africa is already home to some of the highest child mortality rates in the world and this crisis will only serve to destroy the limited progress that’s been made as it closes schools and destroys health systems.

At UNICEF Canada we are hearing from our field colleagues on a daily basis about the desperate war being waged to prevent the spread of this disease, support children who’ve lost family members and deliver much-needed supplies and equipment. But the global response is drastically underfunded—UNICEF’s appeal for $200 million to meet the needs has only been 13 per cent met.

Canada has a longstanding reputation for generously responding to humanitarian crises and today’s announcement of $30 million to tackle Ebola continues this legacy. We encourage Canada to continue its timely and effective support as this crisis evolves in the coming weeks and months. We also urge individual Canadians to do what they can to support children and families devastated by this outbreak and help us prevent further spread of this deadly disease.”

Photos and video from Ebola-affected countries can be downloaded from: http://uni.cf/1xZAb39

Ebola stats and facts:

  • This Ebola outbreak has claimed more than 2,600 lives and devastated communities in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone where an estimated 10 million children and youth under 20 years old live in Ebola-affected areas. Of them, 2.5 million are under the age of five.
  • The outbreak is spreading fast with 47 per cent of the total number of cases seen within the past 21 days.
  • Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sierra Leone, have reported 4,963 cases and 2,453 deaths (as of 16 September).
  • Women have been disproportionately affected by the virus because of their role as caregivers, comprising nearly 75 per cent of all cases so far.

Other risks:

  • Lack of protection for health workers, challenges in providing protective supplies to families and monitoring burials, misconceptions and social unrest, have contributed to the spread of the virus.
  • In contrast to previous outbreaks, this outbreak has reached urban centres and has been transmitted across international borders.
  • The potential longer term impact of this crisis – on trade, economic growth, education, employment, social services – can be minimized if affected countries are not isolated.
  • The breakdown of services to prevent epidemics - such as immunization, provision of clean water and sanitation and provision of bed nets - increases the risk of outbreaks of measles, cholera and malaria as well as resurgence in polio. This would in turn seriously damage the response efforts against Ebola and lead to a significant number of deaths amongst children and their families.

UNICEF’s response:

  1. Providing social mobilization and information in affected countries, playing a critical role to support, mobilize and incentivize networks of community health workers and volunteers.
  2. Airlifting essential supplies to the affected countries on a massive scale for use in treatment and care centres as well as for continuity of basic services. By early October, UNICEF will have delivered 1300 metric tonnes (MT) on 55 flights.  
  3. Planning support for water supply, sanitation, and solid waste disposal and hygiene standards in care centres, alongside support for health standards.
  4. Working closely with the governments in providing alternative means of learning for children affected by the closure of schools.
  5. Providing counselling for children and families severely affected by the outbreak, including orphaned children and widows.
  6. In the neighbouring countries at risk (Mali, Senegal, Guinea Bissau and Ivory Coast), UNICEF is working with the governments and partners to create awareness among the communities, while emergency supplies and medical equipment are being delivered for preparedness.

How to help: www.unicef.ca

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About UNICEF

UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.

UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca.

For further information:

Stefanie Carmichael, Communications Specialist, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8866; Cell: (647) 500-4230, scarmichael@unicef.ca.
Tiffany Baggetta, Director, Communications and Brand, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8892; Cell: (647) 308-4806, tbaggetta@unicef.ca.