World

UN Ebola fund falls short of goal

“Ebola is a huge and urgent global problem that demands a huge and urgent global response," U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon said. File photo

“Ebola is a huge and urgent global problem that demands a huge and urgent global response," U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon said. File photo  

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The U.N. trust fund launched for combating spread of the deadly Ebola virus has only $100,000 cash, a minuscule amount compared to the $1 billion that the world body needs to help tackle the outbreak.

The trust fund has received pledges of about $20 million from various governments, but only $100,000 in actual cash deposits

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon appealed to the international community to provide the billion dollars that will enable the U.N. and partners to “get ahead of the curve” and meet the target of reducing the rate of transmission by December 1.

The U.N. Chief told reporters here on Thursday that the trust fund requires $1 billion for the U.N. operation to tackle the epidemic and while countries have made pledges of 20 million dollars, “our bank account has only a hundred thousand dollars. This is a very serious problem,” he said.

The $100,000 in actual cash deposits has come from only one country — Colombia.

“Ebola is a huge and urgent global problem that demands a huge and urgent global response. Dozens of countries are showing their solidarity. But we need to turn pledges into action. We need more doctors, nurses, equipment, treatment centres and medevac capacities,” he said as he called on the international community to step up its efforts to respond to the Ebola crisis.

He said pledges must be into action, while the United Nations health agency warned of continuously deteriorating situation in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Mr. Ban’s call to action echoes the stark warning issued to the Security Council last week by head of the U.N. Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) Anthony Banbury, who said the world must move quickly to ensure that at least 70 per cent of all people infected with Ebola are getting treatment by December 1, and that 70 per cent of all burials occur without contamination by that date.

Failing to reach those targets would mean “we fail entirely. With each passing day...the number of people infected grows exponentially,” Mr. Banbury said.

The latest figures from the U.N. World Health Organization (WHO) indicate a total of 8,997 cases in seven countries — Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain and United States and 4,493 deaths. The disease has taken its toll on healthcare workers, with 427 infected and 236 dead.

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Printable version | Apr 19, 2019 2:02:07 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/world/un-ebola-fund-falls-short-of-goal/article6509833.ece

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