NAIROBI, March 6 (Xinhua) -- The UN relief agency said Wednesday it has released 50 million shillings (500,000 U.S. dollars) to support the creation of a regional common logistics services staging area in Uganda to strengthen Ebola readiness and response in the region.
The funds from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) which were released by Mark Lowcock, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, is part of a 10.5 million dollars regional contribution from the CERF towards mitigating the possible impact of the current Ebola outbreak should it spread to countries neighboring the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
The new logistics centre, led by the World Food Programme (WFP) as the lead agency for common logistics services for both UN agencies and Non-Governmental Organizations, will support early action in countries neighboring the DRC, the epicentre of the current Ebola outbreak, to prevent the spread of the disease and respond if needed.
According to WFP, the staging area will also support ongoing Ebola response in DRC to the extent required.
Erika Joergensen, WFP east Africa regional director said in a statement issued in Nairobi that the UN agency still needs additional support for the logistics staging area in Entebbe.
"We are very grateful to CERF and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) for this timely contribution and urge other donors to support preparedness and the emergency response to stop and push back Ebola," Joergensen said.
The Ebola outbreak in DRC is the second worst in history with nearly 900 cases and more than 560 deaths recorded since it was declared on Aug. 1 2018, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Under this allocation, 3.8 million dollars has been provided to Uganda, 2.4 million dollars to Burundi, 2 million dollars to South Sudan and 1.8 million dollars to Rwanda, in addition to the 500,000 dollars provided for the regional staging area.
"These CERF funds will enable early action and the acceleration of preparedness measures, including stepping up surveillance, community mobilization, crisis communication, vaccination campaigns and training of health workers," said WFP.
Ibrahima Soce Fall, WHO Regional Emergencies Director for Africa said the life-saving contribution from CERF will cover logistics, one of the critical gaps in Ebola readiness.
Fall called on donors to invest in emergency preparedness and step up funding for early action in neighboring countries.