Senegal Opens Airport, but Not Border, for Ebola Aid

by Kathy Jones on  September 29, 2014 at 9:11 PM General Health News
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Senegal opened up a humanitarian corridor at an airport to help speed aid to Ebola stricken countries although its border with Guinea remains closed.
 Senegal Opens Airport, but Not Border, for Ebola Aid
Senegal Opens Airport, but Not Border, for Ebola Aid

A plane carrying workers with the UN's World Food Programme arriving from the Guinean capital Conakry landed at the designated humanitarian air corridor on a military air base near Dakar, AFP reported.

Senegalese Health Minister Awa Marie Coll Seck said Dakar had reached an agreement with international aid groups and Western states to use an air corridor "to send equipment, medicines, and to support human resources in order to save human lives".

Coll Seck, speaking alongside Senegalese, UN and NGO officials, told journalists the airport access was opened up "in the context of international solidarity".

A Senegalese official said the corridor had been operational for two days but was still being set up.

Dakar first offered on September 8 to allow access to air carriers delivering relief to Ebola-struck Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, where more than 3,000 people have died in the outbreak.

Senegal reported only one case of the deadly virus -- a Guinean student who crossed into the country just before it shut its land border on August 21. Authorities reported the man has since recovered.

Ivory Coast, which also closed its borders in a bid to keep Ebola from spreading, created a humanitarian corridor to its neighbours Guinea and Liberia earlier this month.

Liberia has been hit the hardest by the tropical haemorrhagic fever, with 3,458 infections and 1,830 deaths, according to a World Health Organization count released Saturday.

In Guinea, where the outbreak began late last year, Ebola has infected 1,074 people, killing 648, while in Sierra Leone 2,021 have been infected and 605 killed.

World leaders led by US President Barack Obama have pledged new rounds of aid to fight Ebola, and the International Monetary Fund on Friday fast-tracked $130 million (102.5 million euros) to dispatch to the three west African states.

The UN has estimated that nearly one billion dollars will be required to effectively fight the disease, and its health agency has warned that without quicker prevention efforts, hundreds of thousands could be infected with Ebola by the end of the year.

Source: AFP

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