LONDON, Sept. 17, 2014—MapAction is deploying a team of two volunteers and its Chief Executive to Monrovia, Liberia, in response to the Ebola outbreak, which has spread across West Africa. The team will be working in partnership with the United Nations and International Humanitarian Partnership (IHP) to help coordinate the national and international response to this medical emergency.
As of 7th September, 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that the total number of probable, confirmed and suspected cases in West Africa stood at 4,366, with 2,218 deaths across Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone. Of these countries, Liberia has been particularly hard-hit.
The demand for treatment far outstrips the medical facilities currently available. Anecdotal reports indicate that as soon as an Ebola treatment centre is opened, more patients arrive than can be treated. WHO staff have confirmed there are currently no free beds for Ebola treatment anywhere in Liberia. When patients are turned away from treatment centres, they have no choice but to return to their communities and homes, where they risk infecting others and perpetuating the spread of the virus.
Liz Hughes, MapAction’s Chief Executive, commented: “There can be no doubt: the spread of Ebola is a humanitarian emergency of the highest order. MapAction is working with strategic partners to ensure there is a concerted and coordinated response to this virus that has already tragically claimed so many lives. The situation on the ground is extremely complex. MapAction will provide its unique surge mapping expertise to help responders understand the needs of affected communities, so they can target their response effectively.”
This is MapAction’s first emergency deployment to Liberia, although it provided specialist training in mapping health priorities for Merlin in 2005.
MapAction is a charity that provides life-saving information about disaster situations in the form of maps. It is the only non-governmental organisation (NGO) anywhere in the world with a capacity to deploy a fully trained and equipped humanitarian mapping and information management team, often within a few hours of an alert. Its highly-skilled volunteers play a vital role in helping to coordinate the national and international emergency response by gathering information such as:
· Which communities are in the greatest need?
· What are their priority needs?
· How can aid agencies best reach them?
MapAction’s aim is to help to get aid delivered quickly and effectively to the people who need it most. www.mapaction.org