SEATTLE – Philanthropist Paul G. Allen announced today two new initiatives as part of a comprehensive relief campaign to provide resources and support to tackle the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. The efforts will put an additional $6.6 million toward supporting business and organizations working on logistical and transport needs. This raises Mr. Allen’s initial commitment to fighting the disease to more than $20 million, with further donation announcements planned for later this week.
“The Ebola outbreak requires dedicated and creative solutions to prevent its further spread across Africa and the world,” said Mr. Allen. “We can tackle Ebola, but it will require an accelerated and coordinated global effort. Time is of the essence in this battle.”
The initiatives announced today will facilitate the movement of goods, resources and people in the region. The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and leading businesses have come together to make the following solutions possible:
First, is a $3.6 million matching contribution from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF that in coordination with UPS will air lift 50,000 protection kits into Liberia to help prevent the spread of the virus among caretakers and family members.
"UPS is providing global transportation logistics expertise to UNICEF to speed the delivery arrangement considering the time sensitive nature of this important mission,” said Mitch Nichols, senior vice president, UPS Transportation and Engineering.
The kits are designed to protect healthy people when family members are showing Ebola-like symptoms. Individuals will be trained in how to use the gear, dispose of waste and reduce the risk of infection. In addition, the funds will equip 2,371 community health volunteers with the resources to educate their communities on how to prevent the spread of Ebola and protect themselves and their families.
“We are so grateful for the generous support from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, UPS and partners such as USAID,” said Caryl Stern, President and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. “There are 4.5 million children under the age of five living in areas affected by Ebola and UNICEF is working around the clock to protect communities and families against the deadly virus. The funding support from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and the logistics support from UPS will help UNICEF continue to rush critically-needed, lifesaving supplies to the region."
With the match from others in the U.S. Fund for UNICEF family and partners, additional kits and ongoing funding for social mobilization and care will be sent to the communities affected by this devastating virus.
Second, a $3 million partnership has been established with Airlink to execute an air bridge, with flights departing on a regular basis for the next three months, to deliver critically-needed medical protective gear and pharmaceuticals to West Africa. Airlink is a 24/7 disaster and humanitarian response organization that links pre-qualified nonprofits with airlines for air and cargo transportation. With a rapid-response business model that supports the delivery of aid in a very timely manner, Airlink’s mission is to support nonprofit organizations working to get required supplies to the areas of greatest need. The first flight will take place the week of September 21.
“With the supply chain significantly contracted by many carriers deciding not to fly into West Africa at this time, we are particularly appreciative of the support from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation,” said Steve Smith, executive director of Airlink. “Many nonprofits have told us we are the only avenue for them to deliver aid, thus, the generous funding to create an air bridge has the potential to open the pipeline for many more relief organizations.”
These funding commitments and business partnerships come at a time when the international community is struggling to provide enough support to control the epidemic. International groups such as Médecins Sans Frontières and the World Health Organization have said resources to contain the disease and treat those in need are falling short of what is required. Simultaneously, Ebola is spreading exponentially across West Africa – this outbreak being currently the worst on record, killing more than 2,300 across four countries. Unless contained, hundreds of thousands or even millions of lives are at risk.
Today’s announcement follows a $9 million grant from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation to the CDC Foundation to establish emergency operations centers in the most-affected countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. These centers will help to develop a systematic response with improved data management and communication systems for disease and patient contact tracing, which will ultimately help to detect and stop the disease from spreading.
The Paul G Allen Family Foundation also committed $2.8 million to the American Red Cross in August 2014. This donation is currently funding equipment, volunteers and educational materials in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia to help stop Ebola.
For more information, visit TackleEbola.com and follow #TackleEbola on Twitter.