A. Situation analysis
Description of the disaster
A fast-spreading outbreak of Ebola virus disease is affecting several countries in West Africa. The Ebola virus outbreak in Guinea since February this year which later spread to Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone has continued to cause untold hardship and hundreds of deaths in those countries and the number of cases is expected to increase exponentially. As of September 12, WHO has recorded a total of 3,944 cases attributed to the Ebola epidemic, with a total of 2,097 deaths spread in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone.
Efforts to stop the ongoing spread and bring the epidemic to an end are gaining in commitment and capacity; however the risk for further spread, both within the affected countries and more widely is also a real possibility and needs to be planned for appropriately. The virus has continued to spread across borders in West Africa. This is the first time an outbreak of this size is being experienced in West Africa.
To date, no treatment or vaccine is available for Ebola virus disease, which kills between 25 to 90 percent of victims, depending on the strain of the virus. The disease is transmitted by direct contact with blood, faeces or sweat, or by sexual contact or unprotected handling of contaminated corpses.
Since the confirmation of the Ebola virus disease in Guinea, the IFRC with National Societies have developed response strategies which include supporting the National Societies of the affected countries, countries with a physical border to the affected countries and those who are at risk. The main activities the IFRC is supporting the National Societies with a physical border to the affected countries include:
Preparedness for response through volunteer training in communication around epidemics and behavioral change.
Supporting Ministries of Health in prevention activities and social mobilization.
Pre-positioning personal protective equipment and related training.
Adaption and dissemination of information, education and communication material linked with community social mobilization activities.
Since the confirmation of 1 case in Senegal on 29 August, 2014, Gambia is now at risk and therefore the preparedness plan indicated in this operation aims at building volunteer capacity and at carrying out awareness raising and communication campaigns in the most at-risk communities.