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UN: More than $1 billion needed to fight Ebola virus

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UN’s Ebola co-ordinator David Nabarro has said that more than $1 billion is needed to fight the West Africa Ebola outbreak – a tenfold increase in the past month.

David Nabarro made the announcement as the World Health Organization (WHO) described the health crisis as “unparalleled in modern times”.

The Ebola virus has killed 2,461 people this year, half of the 4,985 infected, the global health body said.


There has been criticism of the slow international response to the epidemic.

Later, President Barack Obama is to announce plans to send 3,000 troops to Liberia, one of countries worst-affected by the outbreak, to help fight the virus.

It is understood the US military will oversee building new treatment centers and help train medical staff.

Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) called on other countries to follow the US lead as the response to outbreak continued to fall “dangerously behind”.

The outbreak began in Guinea before spreading to its neighbors Sierra Leone and Liberia.

More than $1 billion is needed to fight the West Africa Ebola outbreak

More than $1 billion is needed to fight the West Africa Ebola outbreak (photo AFP)

Nigeria and Senegal have reported some cases, but seem to have contained the transmission of the virus.

“We requested about $100 million a month ago and now it is $1 billion, so our ask has gone up 10 times in a month,” David Nabarro told a briefing in Geneva.

“Because of the way the outbreak is advancing, the level of surge we need to do is unprecedented, it is massive.”

At the briefing WHO deputy head Bruce Aylward announced the new Ebola case figures.

“Quite frankly, ladies and gentlemen, this health crisis we’re facing is unparalleled in modern times. We don’t know where the numbers are going on this,” he said.

When the WHO had said it needed the capacity to manage 20,000 cases two weeks ago “that seemed like a lot”, Dr. Bruce Aylward said.

“That does not seem like a lot today,” he added.

At the same briefing, MSF president Joanne Liu said there needed to be “co-ordinated response, organized and executed under clear chain of command”.

Sick people in the Liberian capital were banging on the doors of MSF Ebola care centers desperate for a safe place in which to be isolated, Dr. Joanne Liu said.

“Tragically, our teams must turn them away; we simply do not have enough capacity for them,” Dr. Joanne Liu said.

“Highly infectious people are forced to return home, only to infect others and continue the spread of this deadly virus. All for a lack of international response.”

On September 16, the WHO welcomed China’s pledge to send a mobile laboratory team to Sierra Leone, which will include epidemiologists, clinicians and nurses.

“The most urgent immediate need in the Ebola response is for more medical staff,” WHO head Margaret Chan said in the statement.

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