In February 2014, there was an outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Guinea, which spread to Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone, and most recently Mali, causing untold hardship and hundreds of deaths in these countries. As of 10 November 2014, a total of 14,490 cases, and 5,546 deaths had been recorded, which were attributed to the EVD. In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), an outbreak of the EVD has also been reported, but is considered of a different origin than that which has affected West Africa. 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.
Gambia, a country with a population of 1.7m (UNDP 2012), and surrounded by Senegal, which on 29 August 2014 confirmed a case of EVD, was at a high risk of the epidemic. On 15 September 2014, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) released CHF 46,856 from its Disaster Relief and Emergency Fund (DREF) support the Gambia Red Cross Society (GRCS) with EVD preparedness activities for a period of three months, specifically in the seven regions of Banjul Municipality, Central River, Kanifing Municipality, Lower River, North Bank, Upper River and West Coast.