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How much money will it take to stop Ebola?

John Moore

Before this year, ebola epidemics have never made significant enough impacts to generate a global humanitarian response. But 2014 has been different.

Although there are fewer people affected by ebola than other global crises, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 1.4 million people could be infected with the virus by mid-January.

In order to stop the outbreak, West African countries and various organizations need vast sums of money. However, according to the Financial Tracking Service — an organization which tracks real time humanitarian aid across the world — Ebola is low on the pecking order. The infographic below explains which crises have received more financial relief from countries and NGOs this year.

Who is funding the response against the Ebola epidemic?

Although West Africa has been receiving a considerable amount of money to fight the disease, it has primarily been funded by the World Bank and the US, which account for 51 percent of the aid.

The United States is involved through the US Agency for International Development, USAID, which funnels the funding into agencies on the ground in addition to deploying its own personnel to help with disaster relief.

Where is the money spent?

The majority of the money flowing into Ebola affected countries is used by the World Health Organization, the International Red Cross, local government agencies and various United Nations organizations on protection kits and other medical supplies.

However there isn't an efficient system that accounts for all the money, which can lead to gross overspending and misuse in some areas. Congressional report on humanitarian assistance said that financial provisions for disaster management could have unexpected consequences. It notes that tracking supplies would not be possible. It also mentions that NGOs who are generally intermediaries have a higher potential to mismanage funding.

The response so far has been unprecedented. Last week, the UN called for an increase in spending to combat Ebola and with the escalation of infections, most countries are on high alert and are aggressively investing in countering the disease.

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