United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-Moon has called for more financial support from the international community for the struggle against ebola in West Africa, after it emerged that a trust fund he set up has received only 100,000 US dollars.
The fund, which is part of a one billion-dollar (£620m) UN appeal for humanitarian needs in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, is intended to provide fast and flexible funding for the medical response.
Prime minister David Cameron, who yesterday chaired a meeting of the government’s Cobra contingencies committee on the outbreak, will use an EU summit in Brussels next week to push for more funding and assistance for the poverty-stricken countries which are struggling to contain outbreaks.
“We need an urgent global response and support”
The Royal Navy medical ship RFA Argus, which has a fully-equipped 100-bed hospital on board, is setting sail from Cornwall to join the humanitarian effort and is due to reach the area by the end of the month with 225 military personnel from a total planned UK deployment of 750.
British Army medics arrived in Sierra Leone yesterday to work at a UK-supported treatment centre, which has 12 of its 92 beds set aside for healthcare workers who risk infection while treating others.
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The World Health Organization has reported a total of 8,997 cases of ebola, including 4,493 deaths up to the end of 12 October, the vast majority of them in the three afflicted West African countries.
Mr Ban said last night that a “huge and urgent global response” was needed and that countries which have “the capacity” should provide funding now.
“I believe that it is time that those other countries who really have the capacity provide financial support and other logistical support,” said the UN Secretary General in his latest statement on ebola.
“This is quite serious,” he said. “We need an urgent global response and support.”