UN: UN launches US$1 billion appeal for global Ebola response

New York, US (PANA) - The UN on Wednesday in Davos, Switzerland, appealed for US$1 billion for the first six months of 2015 to sustain the momentum to stamp out Ebola in West Africa.

Dr. David Nabarro, the UN Special Envoy on Ebola, alongside Ms. Valerie Amos, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, launched the appeal at a news conference at the ongoing 2015 World Economic Forum (WEF) in Switzerland.

Dr. Nabarro welcomed the "early signs of reduction of Ebola in all three affected countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone", but noted the need to remain more vigilant, as well as to support all efforts to ensure its eradication and bring socio-economic relief to the countries.

"This is an appeal for funds to support the efforts of the national governments of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone as they identify and treat people affected by Ebola, ensure a rapid end to the outbreak, re-establish essential social services and improve people’s food and nutrition security," the UN envoy stated.

He also said that, the appeal includes funds needed for enabling nearby countries to reduce their people’s risk of Ebola infection.

He explained the background to the revised US$1 billion funding appeal from January to June 2015, noting that, "some of the funding has already been raised by an earlier appeal".

In October 2014, Dr. Nabarro said, the total financial needs were estimated to be to US$1.5 billion through to March 2015, and by the end of 2014, US$1.3 billion had been raised against this appeal, and approximately US$800 million had been spent leaving US$500 million available for use now in 2015.

The UN in a statement on the appeal, also said that, some 20 events had been scheduled at the World Economic Forum in Davos to enhance the global fight against the Ebola epidemic.

Around 8,500 people have died from the disease in the three worst affected countries, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Meanwhile in Geneva on Wednesday, the fourth meeting of the Emergency Committee convened by the Director-General of the UN World Health Organization (WHO) met and recommended maintaining "robust" exit screening in the three affected countries, which, it said, was "critical for minimizing the risk of exportation of Ebola cases".

But, the Committee reaffirmed the need to avoid unnecessary interference with international travel and trade, noting that more than 40 countries had implemented additional measures, such as quarantine of returning travellers and refusal of entry.

WHO in a statement, said: "Such measures are impeding the recruitment and return of international responders. They also have harmful effects on local populations by increasing stigma and isolation, and by disrupting livelihoods and economies."

The Committee concluded that the primary emphasis must continue to be on getting to zero Ebola cases, by stopping the transmission of Ebola within the three most affected countries, it stated.

It also added: "This action is the most important step for preventing international spread. Complacency is the biggest risk to not getting to zero cases, and continued vigilance is essential."
-0- PANA AA/MA 21Jan2015

21 january 2015 21:28:03

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