UN: Ban, UN agencies chief hold talks on Ebola response

New York, US (PANA) - On the eve of a meeting of UN agency chiefs to discuss ways to jointly tackle the Ebola outbreak, the World Bank reported on Thursday that Liberia’s labour sector has suffered a huge blow since the start of the crisis, as a "massive effort" was underway in Mali to halt the spread of the re-emerged virus.

PANA in New York reports that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will on Friday discuss the common effort to counter the Ebola outbreak with the UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB), made up of 29 Executive Heads of UN Funds and Programmes and specialized agencies.

Others attending the meeting will be the heads of the Bretton Woods Institutions, and related organizations, as well as those of the World Tourism Organization (WTO) and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Ban and other CEB members are scheduled to speak to reporters in Washington, DC., where the meeting is taking place at the World Bank headquarters.

Meanwhile, in New York at UN headquarters on Friday, the UN Security Council has scheduled a meeting to hear a briefing by Dr. David Nabarro, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Ebola, and Anthony Banbury, head of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER).

The World Bank, meanwhile, has reported that 46 per cent of those working in Liberia at the start of the Ebola crisis are no longer working as of early November 2014, and that self-employed and wage workers have been the hardest hit, while agriculture is beginning to see returns to work as the harvest approaches.

According to the Bank, it will be essential to focus relief efforts not only in areas where the virus is active, which is crucial, but also in those remote counties where the population was already quite poor, food availability was scarce and is now worsening, markets are closed, and mobility is extremely limited.

The Bank's findings is based on the socio-economic impacts of Ebola on Liberia.

In an assessment of Ebola in Mali issued on Thursday, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) said that “a massive effort is currently under way to identify all potential chains of transmission, monitor contacts, and prevent the outbreak from growing larger” and "at present 338 contacts have been identified and 303 (90 per cent of these have been placed under daily surveillance".

WHO said the virus was almost certainly re-introduced into Mali by a 70-year-old Grand Imam from Guinea, who was admitted to Bamako’s Pasteur Clinic on 25 October and died on 27 October.

On Sierra Leone, the UN health agency said that when Ebola first swept through the Port Loko District, the rash of sudden inexplicable deaths was so shocking that local people explained it as “a witch plane crash”.

"But as husbands, wives, aunts, uncles and children began to fall sick and die they realized this was not a supernatural event but something very human – that would take human actions to reverse," it said.
-0- PANA AA/MA 20Nov2014

20 november 2014 23:00:46

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