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UN Announces Ebola Emergency Response

United Nations BuildingThe Ebola outbreak in west Africa has been declared by the UN Security Council a threat to international peace and security.

UN’s secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, announced a new United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) would be deployed after 193 members of the General Assembly voted a resolution.

This is the first time that the UN has created a mission for a public health emergency.

 

In the period to October since the first case was reported to the World Health Organization period more than 4,500 victims have died of the disease. 

 UNMEER advance teams have been directed to deploy to the mission headquarters in Accra, Ghana, and to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, by Sept. 22.

Dr. Margaret Chan, World Health Organisation director-general, has said the outbreak is likely to be the greatest peacetime challenge the United Nations has ever faced and has called on nations around the world to help in providing for nearly $1 billion in critical needs the UN has identified for the next six months.

“The fact that the U.S., U.K., China, Cuba, and other countries are using a variety of assets, including military assets, speaks to the complexity of the challenge,” she said.

“This is not just a public health crisis. This is a social crisis, a humanitarian crisis, an economic crisis, and a threat to national security well beyond the outbreak zones,” she told the Security Council. “For these reasons, Mr. secretary general and I are calling for a UN-wide initiative that draws together all the assets of all relevant UN agencies.”

Dr. David Nabarro, the secretary general’s senior coordinator for the Ebola response, said confirmed cases had doubled in the affected countries during the three weeks prior to the council’s vote. 

WHO declared Nigeria and Senegal free of Ebola transmission, calling the former’s effort “a spectacular success story that shows that Ebola can be contained.”

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