Over 11,000 people died and over 28,000 were infected by the Ebola virus. The outbreak was not only a health crisis, but also a humanitarian crisis with global dimensions.
Already fragile health services were not able to contain the outbreak, with a severe lack of trained health workers and vital equipment, as well as a dangerous lack of knowledge within communities about how to prevent the spread of the disease.
DEC member agencies and their partners worked urgently to help stop the spread of the disease and providing support to those affected by the crisis.
Donations from the UK public for the appeal raised £37 million and have helped hundreds of thousands of people. DEC fundraising for this appeal is now closed but the money raised will continue to be spent over a two year period ending in October 2016.
Before the current crisis
- The three countries at the centre of the current Ebola outbreak, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, were ranked towards the bottom of the 2013 Human Development Index. Out of 187 countries and territories they ranked 174 (Liberia), 177 (Sierra Leone) and 178 (Guinea).
- In 2013, life expectancy in Sierra Leone was the one of lowest in the world at 48 years. Life expectancy in Liberia and Guinea were higher at 57 and 54.5 years, respectively.
- The three countries have been rebuilding after years of recent conflict. Sierra Leone’s civil war ended in 2002 (1991-2002), since then the country’s development index was increasing rapidly.
- Liberia has been through two civil wars since 1989, the second ending in 2003.
- Sharing borders with both Liberia and Sierra Leone, Guinea was occasionally drawn into the conflicts in those countries in 2000. Rioting and political protests have taken place as recently as 2013.
- Healthcare resources in the most affected countries were already stretched, with Guinea having 10 physcians per 100,000 people and Liberia just 1.4.
- Ebola was first identified in 1976 in two simultaneous outbreaks, one in Sudan and the other in Democratic Republic of Congo according to WHO.
- Since the first outbreak there have been 22 other incidents of Ebola, not including the current crisis.
THE IMPACT OF THE CRISIS
- In March 2014, a rapidly evolving outbreak of Ebola virus disease started in Guinea and spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Senegal.
- Intense tranmission of Ebola has taken place in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea and these are therefore the three countries worst affected by the crisis.
- There have been more than 13,000 (13676) cases of confirmed or suspected Ebola in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, resulting in nearly 5000 deaths (as of 27 October 2014)
- This outbreak is unprecedented in terms of its scale, severity and complexity. There have been more cases and deaths in this outbreak than all others combined according to WHO.
- Cases of Ebola have also occurred in Nigeria, Senegal, Mali, Spain and the USA this. An unrelated outbreak occurred in the Democratic Republic of Congo this year. Nigeria and Senegal have now been declared Ebola free whilst in DRC the disease is currently under control.
- Healthcare workers are particularly vulnerable to the disease due to their high risk of exposure. To date, there have been 521 cases among medical staff in the worst-affected countries, resulting in 272 deaths.
- Fear and restrictions on movement are having a detrimental impact on markets, livelihoods and agriculture. If the spread of Ebola is not controlled, there is a high risk of a major food crisis in West Africa by January 2015.
- The World Bank estimates that the crisis could cost Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia up to $809 million by 2015, and the financial impact could reach $32.6 billion by the end of 2015.
DEC APPEAL AND RESPONSE
- The DEC Ebola Crisis Appeal launched on Thursday 30 October 2014 with appeals carried by all major UK broadcasters.
- DEC member agencies are working urgently in response to the Ebola crisis, with the majority of work focused on stopping the spread of the disease and providing support to those affected.
- By the time the appeal launched DEC member agencies had reached 2.5m people, including over 1.2 million people with public health education messages.
- Member agencies with the relevant medical expertise are also involved in the highly specialised work of treating people with Ebola.