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Switzerland steps up aid to Ebola-hit countries

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Switzerland steps up aid to Ebola-hit countries
Supplies are unloaded in Guinea under the supervision of an MSF employee. Photo: Cellou Binani/AFP
12:41 CEST+02:00
Switzerland has pledged an additional two million francs in aid to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa which has killed over 2,400 people since the outbreak began in March.

The extra funding provided by Swiss Humanitarian Aid will be used to support Médecins sans Frontières Switzerland (MSF) and the World Food Programme (WFP), according to a government statement released on Friday.

One million francs will go to a MSF emergency programme for north Liberia, while the other million will be used by WFP for a regional emergency operation to fend off the hunger crisis triggered by the epidemic in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) has already donated 1.65 million francs to the crisis.

Following a request by the Liberian authorities, Swiss Humanitarian Aid sent 14 tonnes of medical supplies to the country at the beginning of September including 31,000 bottles of hand disinfectant, 300,000 protective gloves, 100,000 masks, 200 body bags, 6,840 intravenous drips and 3,000 rehydration solutions.

Switzerland-based international agencies including MSF and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have been at the forefront of efforts to fight the virus.

At the end of August Swiss media reported fears that Switzerland does not have a repatriation plan in place to deal with Ebola cases among Swiss nationals and expat staff working for such organizations in the field.

According to AFP, the head of the UN health agency, Margaret Chan, told a news conference on Friday that the number of people infected with Ebola had risen to 4,784.

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