The Ebola virus has caused not only 1,200 deaths in Liberia alone; roughly 2,200 documented deaths in all of Western Africa, including at least 160 health workers, and it has tensions risen to the highest in every aspect imaginable.
The outbreak is also affecting Guinea, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, and more than 4,000 cases have been reported across the region. Ebola has also given the already fragile health care systems in West Africa an enormous whop.
On Monday September 15, the United Nations in an emergency news briefing focusing on the devastating impact of the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa, announced that Liberia is facing its greatest threat since its last remedied conflicts. The Security Council also will held an emergency meeting on Ebola this Thursday, Semptember 18.
To battle the outbreak, the entire 15-member Security Council body had already unanimously adopted a mandate to continue aid until 31 December 2014. And the U.N. Mission in Liberia [UNMIL] in its call for increased international response to the crisis requested that there be no changes in deployment of aid workers.
But through today’s resolution, the Council expressed its intention to further extend UNMIL’s mandate to September 30, 2015 after consideration of the Secretary-General’s proposals for the Mission’s future.
“It is crucial that Council members confer on a coordinated international response and begin the process of marshalling our collective resources to stop the spread of the disease,” said U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. and president of the Security Council, Samantha Power. “The merciless spread of Ebola in Liberia must be stopped in its tracks,” she added.
“This outbreak is controllable; Ebola is treatable; and victims can survive. Anything short of our full collective commitment could have grave and destabilizing public health, humanitarian, economic, and security consequences which could reach far beyond the borders of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.”
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a statement, called on all countries and organizations to move swiftly to support the Governments of the countries affected. Karin Landgren, Special Representative of the S-G, and also the head of UNMIL had this to say:
“We pledge to provide full support to stop 'this latter-day plague’.” She also noted that a successful response to Ebola requires 'steady governance and that the lack of confidence in the government of Liberia to address the crisis “has contributed to 'fluid political dynamics’,” she added.
This statement was also a backed by Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous, who at an emergency meeting held last week about the virus, voiced his concerns. He stated that although UNMIL is not a public health operator, he would ensure that all 8,000 military, police, civilian staff and aid workers in the organization spared no effort towards helping to contain the virus.
“We are not leaving Liberia. We are here to stay the course to battle the Ebola outbreak and help these people and their neighbors get through this terrible crisis,” he said.
The UN World Health Organization [WHO] expressed gratitude to other UN agencies, independent organizations – such as the Fédération Internationale de Football Association [FIFA] – which offered its [Antoinette Tubman] stadium to set up two Ebola treatment units. The association agreed that the stadium was deemed the most suitable location for this purpose, and pledged to cover the costs of potential damages that might arise from the use of the field to house the units.
Non-governmental organizations [NGOs], the private sector and personnel from international governments are also rushing to the rescue. The Cuban Government has deployed 165 physicians, nurses, epidemiologists and other specialists to Sierra Leone to assist the Ebola response. And more than 100 experts, mostly from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, were sent to West Africa in an extensive effort to detect and halt the dire conundrum the virus is causing.
So far, cash and equipment offers have also begun to emerge. Last week, the United States Agency for International Development [USAID] offered to provide an additional $75M.
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