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Ebola: UN and aid groups launch central contribution to Ebola response

16 Sep 2014


15 September 2014, Monrovia, Liberia: New recruits to the Liberian Red Cross Dead Body Management team undergo training in Monrovia. The Red Cross is increasing the number of these teams in an effort to cope with rising fatalities caused by the deadly Ebola outbreak. Credit: IFRC/Victor Lacken
The unprecedented ebola crisis demands an exceptional and coordinated international response, say senior UN officials.

The UN and its humanitarian partners have launched a central contribution to the response to the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa. This contribution – outlined in the Overview of Needs and Requirements document presented in Geneva earlier today – depicts the shared plans and financial requirements of the growing number of international partners involved in the response.

“The Ebola crisis is unprecedented,” said Dr. David Nabarro, the UN System Senior Coordinator for Ebola. “It requires an exceptional, international response to address both the health crisis and the broader societal, economic and political threats to the countries affected.”

Almost 5,000 people have been infected with Ebola since the outbreak started in West Africa in March. Tragically, more than 2,400 people have died across Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone. Health experts believe the outbreak is accelerating, with some reports suggesting the number of cases is doubling every three weeks.

“It’s clear that if not dealt with effectively now, Ebola could become a major humanitarian crisis in countries currently affected”, said UN Humanitarian Chief Valerie Amos. “These countries were building their economies and institutions. Now their capacity to deliver the necessities of daily life for their people is on the brink of collapse. The Ebola outbreak poses a serious threat to their post-conflict recovery. (…) We must act now, if we want to avoid greater humanitarian consequences in future”.

A Global Ebola Response Coalition

“A growing number of international partners are coming together in the Global Ebola Response Coalition (GERC). They will help implement critical actions and support a safe and disciplined response at national and international levels,” Dr. Nabarro said, calling on donors to give the response highest priority.

The GERC includes authorities in affected and at-risk countries, civil society, private sector, non-governmental organizations, multilateral organizations, international financial institutions and UN Member States.

The plan presented to Member States, including the affected countries, goes beyond the need to treat, contain and prevent Ebola. It includes elements necessary to meeting the non-Ebola humanitarian needs which have been compounded by the outbreak. For example, it includes provisions for food assistance for communities that have been isolated by the outbreak. The plan mainly covers activities in the three most-affected countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone for six months.

“We will do everything we can”

“We will do everything we can to support national governments, UN agencies, NGOs and other partners as they work on healthcare, food security, sanitation and protection issues,” said USG Amos. “They are an essential part of the response if we are to stabilize this outbreak and mitigate its long-term effects.”

The West Africa outbreak has a higher caseload than all other previous Ebola crises combined and more than 22 million people are living in areas where active ebola transmission has been reported.

"The WHO (World Health Organization) Ebola Roadmap, launched at the end of August, sets out what we have to do to stop Ebola. But it will take more than a plan to finish Ebola,” said Bruce Aylward, WHO Assistant Director-General. “The strong commitment made by our UN partners and Member States is what is needed to beat this virus. And real engagement by world leaders will make the difference."