World failing to contain Ebola: UN official

15 October 2014

A top UN official has warned that the world was falling behind in a desperate race to gain the upper hand over the deadly Ebola outbreak.

The latest death toll from the worst Ebola outbreak ever stands at 4,447, from 8,914 recorded infection cases, with the three hardest-hit countries being Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

In his briefing, head of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) Anthony Banbury told the 15-nation UN Security Council that he was ''deeply worried'' that the steps implemented by the international community were ''not nearly enough'' to halt the advance of the fatal disease.

''Ebola got a head start on us,'' he said.

''It is far ahead of us, it is running faster than us, and it is winning the race. If Ebola wins, we the peoples of the United Nations lose so very much,'' he said.

''We either stop Ebola now or we face an entirely unprecedented situation for which we do not have a plan,'' Banbury told the Council yesterday via video link from the operation's headquarters in Ghana.

He recalled the World Health Organisation's (WHO) recommendation that, within 60 days of 1 October, 70 per cent of all those infected must be in the hospital with 70 per cent of the victims safely buried, for the outbreak to be successfully arrested.

He warned that, the Ebola numbers risked rising ''dramatically'', otherwise and overwhelming the overall response if the 1 December deadline remained unmet.

''This is what we are fighting for now: we are fighting to prevent unavoidable deaths. We are fighting for people who are alive and healthy today, but will become infected and die if we do not put in place the necessary emergency response.''

 search domain-b