Evacuation plans for all medical staff, planes on the ground, airbridges and a central coordination of all international efforts are some of the proposals debated today in Parliament's Development Committee. Experts from the field, ambassadors and MEPs all agreed that a lot more needs to be done if we want to cut the spreading of the epidemic.
"We need immediate short-term responses but also to learn long-term lessons from this outbreak", said Committee Chair Linda McAvan (S&D, UK). "I was shocked when I found out that more people have died since the outbreak of the Ebola virus in March than since the first recording of Ebola about 50 years ago", she said.
"We need immediate evacuation plans for all medical staff and a fully equipped stand by plane on the ground in the region", said the Chair responding to the news that the evacuation of an infected person working in the international medical staff - the first one recorded since the outbreak of Ebola - took 48 hours, as the plane had to be sent from the United States. "Without such an evacuation facility, we cannot attract volunteer medical staff to the region to staff the extra hospital beds we are planning. This is a matter of extreme urgency and I call on the Commission President, Council and High Representative and the member states to sort this blockage out now."
All speakers-experts, MEPs, representatives from the Commission and NGOs - agreed that a central coordination of all international effort is needed in order to have immediate results whilst the safety of all personnel deployed on the ground has to be ensured.
Ms McAvan informed the Members that an urgent letter will be sent to the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the Presidency of the Council asking to clarify all the next steps to be taken by the EU.
You can watch the debate as a recorded event via the link to the right.