UN: 'Liberia will be Ebola-free soon'

New York, US (PANA) - UN Special Representative for Liberia and Head of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) Karin Landgren says Liberia is expected to be declared Ebola-free by the World Health Organization (WHO) within the week, if no more new cases of the disease are discovered before then.

Briefing the UN Security Council on Tuesday in New York, Ms. Landgren said after almost 14 months spent under the cloud of Ebola, this will be joyful news for the country.

"Liberians and their government, with support form the UN and international partners, have gotten firmly ahead of the epidemic, and now, all Liberians must remain vigilant," she said.

The UN envoy pointed out the UN Mission for Emergency Ebola Response (UNMEER) had closed its doors and transferred residual tasks to the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and to UN
agencies, but stressed that despite these positives, the outbreak had demonstrated the
"underlying fragility of Liberia."

"It is remarkable that eight months later, it is Liberia, among the three affected countries, that appears poised to be declared Ebola-free, and now is the time to address factors which contributed to Ebola’s spread, in particular, weak social service delivery, lack of
accountability and overly centralized government," she said.

Ms. Landgren said even as the post-Ebola recovery began, the government was taking steps to assume fully its security responsibilities by 30 June 2016, as mandated by the UN Security Council, with the Liberian National Security Council having endorsed the "Government of Liberia Plan for UNMIL Transition", in line with Council resolution 2190 (2014).

Also briefing the Security Council, Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) Liberia Configuration, Mr. Olof Skoog, said he got a first-hand impression on the ground of the Ebola outbreak and stressed the urgent need to improve the socio-economic situation including by increasing access to education and jobs.

"This includes enhancing state presence and capacity to deliver basic services in the communities as part of the decentralisation process. It is also essential to deal with the outstanding grievances from the civil war, including the implementing the national reconciliation roadmap and regional cooperation is important for regional peace and security and deserves greater attention.

"The conditions were dire already before the crisis – with 64 per cent of the population living below the poverty line and only thirty-four per cent of children attending primary school," he said.

He also highlighted how the Ebola crisis increased the burden on households and destroyed the livelihoods of women and youth engaged in petty trade.

"The priority of the PBC is to safeguard that peacebuilding gains can be sustained and strengthened, and in close coordination with the Security Council will be important in the coming months to help ensure a responsible and seamless transition of UNMIL," Mr. Skoog said.
-0- PANA AA/SEG 6May2015

06 may 2015 08:03:27

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