The African Union has not delivered on its promises to send help to Ebola-stricken countries in West Africa, drawing criticism from legislators in Sierra Leone and Liberia who said their countries feel “abandoned” by Africa, according to the Associated Press. The United Nations’ list of countries that have contributed to fight the current Ebola virus disease outbreak, the deadliest in history, does not include any African countries -- and any contributions that African governments have offered are marginal when compared with donations coming from elsewhere.
When pressed about the Ebola issue at a meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim in Ethiopia this week, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the African Union Commission’s first female chairperson, said the A.U. was caught off guard by the outbreak. “With the wisdom of hindsight, our responses at all levels -- continental, global and national -- were slow, and often knee-jerk reactions that did not always help,” AP quoted her as saying. Legislators in Sierra Leone said they felt the A.U. should have led the response to the frequently fatal disease instead of relying on the international community to take charge.
The A.U. pledged $1 million in August to help contain Ebola in West Africa, according to Channels Television in Nigeria. However, it is unclear how much of that money has gone to fight the outbreak. In contrast, the World Bank has already paid out more than $100 million of the $200 million-plus it has pledged to combat the disease. Similarly, the African Development Bank has donated more than $45 million for the same purpose.
The U.S. has contributed the most of any country, with more than $206 million paid out as of Oct. 22, according to the Telegraph. The U.K. was the second-largest donor, with nearly $19 million going to containment efforts in West Africa, followed closely by Germany, Australia, Japan and Sweden.
Several African states have offered to send a total of 2,000 health-care workers to the affected region, but the first of them have yet to arrive. The Ebola death toll during the current outbreak is nearing 5,000, with a total of 13,703 confirmed, probable or suspected cases, according to the latest estimates of the World Health Organization.