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Ebola crisis: Oxfam calls for recovery Marshall Plan

By BBC   |   27 January 2015   |   8:26 am  

OXFAM has called for a multi-million dollar Marshall Plan-type scheme to help the three West Africa countries worst affected by Ebola to recover.

More than 8,500 people have died in the outbreak, the vast majority in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.

Oxfam GB chief executive Mark Goldring said: “The world cannot walk away now that, thankfully, cases of this deadly disease are dropping.”

The charity said investment from wealthy countries was crucial.The Marshall Plan was the post-World War II project for European recovery.

It was officially known as the European Recovery Programme and launched in the name of the then American Secretary of State, George Marshall, in 1947.

Oxfam wants an international pledge to agree recovery plans, with financial support given by wealthy countries.It said financial help was needed for three areas – providing cash to families affected by Ebola, investing in jobs and also supporting services like health, education and sanitation.

Mr Goldring, speaking on a visit to Liberia, said: “People need cash in their hands now, they need good jobs to feed their families in the near future and decent health, education and other essential services. They’ve gone through hell, they cannot be left high and dry.

“The world cannot walk away now that, thankfully, cases of this deadly disease are dropping. Failure to help these countries after surviving Ebola will condemn them to a double disaster.

“The world was late in waking up to the Ebola crisis, there can be no excuses for not helping to put these economies and lives back together.”The charity said a survey of 1,648 people in three Liberian counties found 73% of families had seen their income decline following the outbreak, with some struggling to buy enough food as a result.

Its survey found that 60% said they had not had enough food in the past seven days, with a quarter saying this was due to a drop in income and a fifth saying this was due to high food prices.

The price of rice has risen 40% above its seasonal average in Liberia, Oxfam said.The World Bank has estimated nearly 180,000 people have lost their jobs in Sierra Leone since the outbreak began, with half of the heads of households in Liberia currently out of work.

Food prices have also been rising, adding to families’ problems, Oxfam said.

Meanwhile, details have been given of a large-scale trial of vaccines against Ebola.

The US-funded programme will begin in Liberia and will initially see 600 people getting the vaccine.

BBC international development correspondent Mark Doyle said: “Because of the tragedy of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, and the threat it poses to the whole world, a vaccine that would normally take 10 years to develop is being tested after just two.

“And a small west African nation, Liberia, is playing a vital role in trying to solve a potential global health disaster.”



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