Japan’s Aid Agency Pulls Staff From Ebola-Hit Countries

The Japan International Cooperation Agency has begun pulling its staff out of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone as the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus continues to spread in the region.

According to a spokesman at JICA, the agency had 24 staffers in the three countries as of Aug. 8 working on aid projects in fields such as agriculture, medicine and infrastructure. The agency decided to remove its staff in light of warnings issued by the World Health Organization and Japan’s foreign ministry.

“Some of them are preparing to leave, but others have already traveled to Ghana and to Japan,” the spokesman said. Offices in Sierra Leone and Liberia are being managed by local employees for the time being, according to the agency.

It is rare for the agency to pull out workers from a country. The most recent case happened in Mexico in 2009 when the swine flu caused an epidemic there, according to the spokesman.

The foreign ministry said there were 40 Japanese nationals in Guinea, 30 in Liberia and 30 in Sierra Leone as of Aug. 7. The ministry has issued warnings to those in the area to consider leaving, and it is requesting that those planning to visit the region postpone nonurgent trips.

The foreign ministry warns on its site that anyone who stays in the Ebola-hit nations may find it hard to leave because commercial air carriers are suspending some service in the region.

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Dan Mullin is an active writer and editor for the Pluto Daily who covered the 2014 Ebola Outbreak. Mullin attended the Wake Forest School of Medicine before leaving to pursue his lifelong science goal of allowing humans to live forever via a computer/brain transfer.