The Liberian Government over the weekend received a delegation of the European Union (EU) team on Ebola. The delegation was headed by the EU Ebola Coordinator/Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Mr. Christos Stylianides and the EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Mr. VytenisAndriukaitis.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, on behalf the Liberian Government and People, welcomed the team to Liberia and lauded the EU for its many interventions in the post-conflict recovery process of Liberia.
PresidentSirleaf who reflected on the numerous contributions of the EU to all of the country’s major development projects since the end of the civil war, noted that Liberia now knows and understands the factors that enhanced the spread of the disease.
“Today, the country knows and understands the factors that enhanced the spread of the disease. Now, so much progress has been made. Of course, we have made progress because the Liberian people and their different communities have decided,” President Sirleaf noted.
She also stressed that going forward, international assistance will be most required in strengthening the healthcare system as well as overall support for the National Economic Recovery Plan of the Government for the post-Ebola era. She expressed the hope that the EU will be a partner to rely on in this regard.
Speaking later at a joint press stakeout with Foreign Minister Augustine KpeheNgafuan in the Foyer of the Foreign Ministry, the EU Ebola Coordinator/Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Mr. Stylianides, on behalf of the EU expressed his solidarity to the Government and people of Liberia, adding that Europe’s solidarity is real and tangible.
Commissioner Stylianides emphasized that the EU is with Liberia in its Ebola fight and will remain with Liberia until the end of the health crisis and beyond, stressing, "Liberia is not alone in this fight against Ebola".
Mr. Stylianidesthen warned Liberia and it neighbors of Sierra Leone and Guinea which are the hardest hit countries against complacency, adding that the responsibility is collective and everyone must work hand in hand.
Also speaking, Mr. Vytenis Andriukaitis, the EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety remains hopeful that Liberia's adoption of thecommunity-based at the community, county, and national levels approach in tackling the further spread of the disease will defeat the virus.
For his part, Foreign Minister Ngafuan commended all of Liberia's partners including the EU for their part so far in helping to curb the Ebola virus.
"The President appreciates the resilience of the Liberians and the initiatives from all of our partners from across the world who have joined us in the fight", the Foreign Minister said.
He continued, "Some of our partners were with us before Ebola and left us because of Ebola; some came because of Ebola and will leave us after Ebola; others who have not been with us because of Ebola may come or return after Ebola while some were with us before Ebola and remain with us during the time of Ebola. Some are still waiting for Ebola to finish before they can come. The European Union has now and of yet become the biggest provider of support to Liberia………..providing US$1.2 billion to Ebola affected countries in the MRU".
He then disclosed that the EU is the only multilateral donor that has provided 100% budgetary support to the Liberian Government, also stressing the need for a focus on post-Ebola recovery program.