In view of the dramatic situation in West Africa, an interministerial meeting on Germany’s engagement in the fight against the Ebola outbreak was held at the Federal Foreign Office today (19 September), headed by State Secretary Markus Ederer. Besides supporting the United Nations emergency mission, the state secretaries agreed on the following tangible steps measures:
- In conjunction with the French Army, the Bundeswehr plans to establish an air bridge to the countries affected by the Ebola outbreak at short notice and set up an air transport base somewhere in the wider region. One possible location for such a base could be Dakar, Senegal. An initial two Transall aircraft can be made available for this purpose, and up to 100 soldiers are intended to establish the air bridge and run the air transport base. Other countries may take a role in the supply chain.
- The German Government will support the German Red Cross both financially and logistically in establishing a mobile hospital with more than 200 beds as well as two primary healthcare clinics in the region. The Bundeswehr is also prepared to transport to the region a sick bay/field hospital for up to 50 patients and help set it up if required.
- The German Government intends to increase its staff of essential medical auxiliaries. It will create the conditions for a functioning rescue chain.
- If necessary, the Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance can make extensive medical equipment available at short notice from its existing stock.
- The German Government is prepared to support additional preventive measures as well as to provide medical supplies and food, as required and in liaison with the United Nations and the international community. Transport options that may be used for this purpose include those already in place as part of Germany’s development cooperation.
- The Federal Agency for Technical Relief will play a role in logistical support for aid measures as required, both in Germany and in the region. This will include assistance with transport and storage of relief supplies in Germany and support for a civilian air bridge and coordination among international actors.
- The German Government intends to play a greater role in the training of medical personnel on the ground.
Also present at the meeting were Prof. Rolf Horstmann, Chairman of the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, and Professor Reinhard Burger, President of the Robert Koch Institute.