Australia criticized for not sending
medical staff to fight Ebola
Send a link to a friend
[October 02, 2014]
By Colin Packham
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia on Thursday
announced additional funds for tackling Ebola but ruled out sending
medical staff to Sierra Leone, prompting criticism for medical charity
Médecins Sans Frontières that it was failing to meet its commitment.
The government said it would give an additional A$10 million ($8.79
million) to tackle Ebola, taking its total financial assistance to
A$18 million. But Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said no
medical personnel would be sent for now.
Bishop said sending medical staff to Sierra Leone would endanger
them as it does not have the capacity to evacuate anyone that
contracts the deadly virus.
But MSF said Australia was shirking its commitment to assist with
the fight against Ebola, which has killed more than 3,000 people.
"As a member of the UN Security Council, Australia voted ten days
ago for a resolution calling on all UN member States to mobilize
resources and expertise to West Africa, and yet is not responding
with the kind of action the resolution explicitly calls for," Paul
McPhun, Executive Director of MSF Australia, said in an emailed
MSF said just a small number of trained staff would have a "very
MSF said 21 Australians and New Zealanders had gone to Sierra Leone
to assist, with more willing to help.
[to top of second column]
The outbreak has killed 3,338 people, or 47 percent of the 7,178
known to have been infected as of Sept. 28, predominantly in
Liberia, Sierra Leone and Senegal, the World Health Organization
The disease - which emerged in a remote forest region of Guinea in
March - has also turned up in Nigeria and Senegal, but officials say
the disease has been contained in those two countries. A man has
also been diagnosed with Ebola in the United States.
(Editing by Nick Macfie)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.