United Nations (United
States) (AFP) - International donors pledged $3.4 billion in new funds
Friday to help Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in their final push to
stamp out Ebola and get on the road to recovery.
promises would bring the total amount of funds to help the three
countries rebuild after the killer epidemic to $5.18 billion, said Helen
Clark, head of the United Nations Development Programme.
consider this a very encouraging response," Clark told reporters at the
end of the pledging conference held at the United Nations.
"This puts the recovery off to a very positive start."
leaders of the countries had appealed for $3.2 billion to finance their
national recovery plans, along with an additional $4 billion for a
The funds will help rebuild health care
systems, reopen schools, support agriculture and get government services
fully up and running.
The world's worst outbreak of Ebola has
killed more than 11,200 people in West Africa, brought fragile health
care systems to their knees, rolled back economic gains and sent
Liberia, the hardest-hit country, suffered a
setback when a few new cases were uncovered last month just after it had
been declared Ebola-free.
New infections in Sierra Leone and Guinea have fallen dramatically amid indications that the epidemic is largely under control.
the conference, Liberia's President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said "the
world has a great stake in how we respond to the global threat (of
"We can and we must return to the progress of our pre-Ebola trauma."
- Generous EU, Britain, US -
the new funds pledged were $450 million from the European Union, $372
million from Britain, $266 million from the United States and $5 million
Germany pledged 196 million euros ($220 million) and France 150 million euros.
30 people are still being infected with Ebola every week, but the
countries want to turn their attention now on rebuilding health care and
Legions of health care workers died from
Ebola and field hospitals built at the height of the crisis have since
closed, leaving health systems struggling.
The loss of health
workers could lead to an additional 4,022 deaths of women each year
across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone as a result of complications in
pregnancy and childbirth, according to the World Bank.
Health Organization has said the three countries are facing a funding
gap of $700 million just to rebuild their health systems and provide
services until December 2017.
"Humanity sometimes displays a
short attention span and wants to move to other issues because the
threat of Ebola seems over," Sierra Leone's President Ernest Bai Koroma
told the gathering.
"No, no, no," he emphasized.
threat is never over until we rebuild the health sector Ebola
demolished, until we rebuild the livelihoods in agriculture it
compromised, until we shore up government revenues it dried up, and
until we breathe life into the private sector it has suffocated."
Liberia and Sierra Leone have seen modest economic gains made after years of war wiped out by Ebola.
rates in all three countries showed that economic prospects were bright
before the outbreak that began in Guinea in December 2013.