UN official wants efforts to move faster to end Ebola outbreak

From the headquarters of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) in Accra, Ghana, UN envoy Anthony Banbury (on monitor) briefs the Security Council on the Ebola outbreak, via video. | UN Photo/Kim Haughton

Anthony Banbury, the head of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), told the UN Security Council on Tuesday that he is “deeply worried” that the international community has done “not nearly enough” to combat the 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 … We either stop Ebola now or we face an entirely unprecedented situation for which we do not have a plan.”

Banbury was speaking live via video conference from the operation’s headquarters in Ghana.

Recently, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) reported 8,376 cases and 4,024 deaths from Ebola based on information released by the Ministries of Health of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, who were all represented at Banbury’s briefing.

“With every day that passes, the number of sick people increases,” Banbury said. “Time is our biggest enemy. We must use every minute of every day to our advantage, and that is what UNMEER is doing. UNMEER is playing the critical role of crisis manager, but responding to a complex crisis, especially one that cuts across multiple national boundaries, requires an overall perspective and a comprehensive plan.”

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