Australia on Wednesday promised to provide an additional 7 million Australian dollars ($6.35 million) to help the international response team to counter the worst outbreak of the Ebola virus. The country had earlier pledged AU$1 million for the cause.
Julie Bishop, Australia’s foreign minister, said Wednesday, that the fresh funding includes the AU$2 million that the U.K. had requested from Australia to help London deliver medical services in Sierra Leone. Another AU$2.5 million will be pledged to the World Health Organization’s consolidated regional response, and the rest will be given to Doctors Without Borders, also known as Medecins Sans Frontieres.
"We share the international community’s deep concern over the recent Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in West Africa," Bishop’s office said in a statement, adding: "We strongly advise Australians to reconsider their need to travel to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, and to leave these countries while commercial means are still available."
Australia’s contribution follows an announcement from the United Nations, or U.N., on Tuesday that ending the Ebola epidemic, which has so far killed 2,461 people and has infected at least 4,985 people, mostly in West Africa, would cost more than $1 billion.
"We requested about $100m a month ago and now it is $1bn, so our ask has gone up 10 times in a month," David Nabarro, the U.N.'s Ebola coordinator, said in a briefing in Geneva, according to BBC, adding: "Because of the way the outbreak is advancing, the level of surge we need to do is unprecedented, it is massive."
U.S. President Barack Obama said Tuesday that the U.S. will send 3,000 troops to Liberia to help build hospitals, and also open a military command center in Monrovia, the country’s capital, at the request of the Liberian government.
"This is the largest international response in the history of the CDC," Obama said in a speech from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, in Atlanta, adding: "Their work and our efforts across the government are an example of what happens when America leads in the face of global challenges."
"Faced with this outbreak, the world is looking to the United States, and it’s a responsibility we embrace," Obama added.