(Adds details from World Bank announcement)
WASHINGTON Aug 4 The World Bank on Monday
announced up to $200 million in emergency assistance to help
Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea contain the spread of the
deadly Ebola virus, which has killed hundreds in West Africa.
The funding will also help those countries improve their
public health systems and cope with the epidemic's economic
impact, the Washington-based lender said in a statement. The
countries' resources and health systems have been strained by
the worst outbreak of the virus since its discovery four decades
Guinea's economic growth could fall a full percentage point
to 3.5 percent due to the epidemic, according to the World Bank
and International Monetary Fund's initial assessment.
"I have been monitoring (Ebola's) deadly impact around the
clock and am deeply saddened at how it has ravaged health
workers, families and communities, disrupted normal life, and
has led to a breakdown of already weak health systems in the
three countries," World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said in a
Reuters reported earlier on Monday that the World Bank and
African Development Bank were among international institutions
preparing funding packages to help countries deal with the
The World Bank said its money would go toward medical
supplies, salaries for medical staff, and to help communities
dealing with the financial hardship left by the virus.
Rural workers in the three countries hit with Ebola have
fled affected areas, hitting agricultural production, though the
food supply has not been affected for now, the bank said.
The epidemic has also slowed cross-border commerce and has
grounded flights across the region, leading to lower revenues
and financial inflows.
Mining production could also decline if more skilled
expatriate workers leave the affected regions, the bank said.
The World Bank's executive board must still approve the
emergency lending. Kim said he would brief the board as soon as
possible to seek their approval.
(Reporting by Anna Yukhananov; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and