Nearly $1Billion Needed to Combat Ebola in West Africa

Combating Ebola in West Africa will cost nearly $1 billion, according to needs assessments completed by the United Nations.  UN estimates show a $988 million price tag to tackle the deadly virus that has killed more than 6,000 people in the region.

Recent donation reports show that the United Nations’ Ebola Trust Fund has received $131 million in commitments and pledges from 24 countries, and Volvo, the Swedish automaker, which pledged $1.5 million.  This figure excludes the $206 million the United States contributed earlier in October.

In mid-October, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reported that the U.N. only had $100,000 cash on hand to fight the disease, according the Associated Press. The Secretary-General pleaded with the international community to move quickly and curb Ebola.

Brett Rierson, representative of the World Food Programme  to China, called out Chinese corporations for doing nothing to help battle the virus in West Africa.  “Where are the Chinese billionaires and their potential impact?  Because this is the time that they could really have such a huge impact,” Rierson said.  The Telegraph.

Mr. Rierson has a point, because China is Africa’s largest trade partner in the world.  Its trade activities in sub-Saharan Africa generated $200 billion in 2013 alone. Chinese corporations seem to be taking advantage of the vast natural resources of the continent and putting very little back, if any.

Meanwhile , the Chinese government itself has contributed $40 million in aid to help fight the disease, including $6 million to the World Food Programme Reuters.

In addition to the $206 million the U.S.  paid into the UN trust fund,  the U. S.  Health and Human Services announced an $8.6 million increase in research grants to speed up clinical trials for Ebola vaccine, according to HHS press release.  Profectus BioSciences. Inc., a Baltimore biotechnology company, will have a 13-month window to complete clinical trials before the vaccine is determined safe.

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