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UN Security Council Declares Ebola a Threat to Peace and Security
Sep 22, 2014

UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER)

The UN Security Council has declared the Ebola outbreak in West Africa a threat to peace and security, and decided to deploy an unprecedented emergency health mission to combat the outbreak that has impacted the lives of millions. Despite wide-ranging efforts, the spread of the disease is outpacing the response. 

The UN Secretary General said in the Security Council’s first emergency meeting on a public health crisis, “No single government can manage the crisis on its own. The United Nations cannot do it alone. This unprecedented situation requires unprecedented steps to save lives and safeguard peace security. I have decided to establish a UN emergency health mission, combining the World Health Organisation’s strategic perspective with a very strong logistics and operational capability.” 

The international mission will be known as the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response, or UNMEER and would have five priorities of stopping the outbreak, treating the infected, ensuring essential services, preserving stability and preventing further outbreaks.Under the leadership of a Special Representative of the Secretary-General, it will bring together the full range of UN actors and expertise in support of national efforts.

The Security Council adopted a resolution exhorting countries to provide more field hospitals and urgent aid to the crisis-stricken region. It was only the third time that the Security Council voted on a public health crisis after resolutions on AIDS in 2000 and 2011. 

UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon said, "This has gone beyond health issues.It has gone to areas affecting social and economic situations. It may even affect political stability if not properly contained and treated." 

The United Nations said nearly one billion dollars would be needed to beat back the worst-ever outbreak of the disease, which is on track to infect 20,000 people by the end of the year. The world body has set a goal of stopping the spread of Ebola within six to nine months but aid agencies are complaining that help has been too slow. Ebola crisis faced a huge funding challenge. 

The capacity of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia to provide even the most basic necessities is on the brink of collapse. The United Nations said the response to the crisis would require $987.8 million with about half needed for Liberia. The UN said if the international community and affected countries respond swiftly and energetically, transmission should begin to slow by the end of the year and halt by mid-2015. 

World Bank: The World Bank approved a $105 million grant, part of a $200 million pledge made in early August aimed at helping people cope with the economic impact of the crisis and strengthening public health systems. 

"The world needs to do much, much more to respond to the Ebola crisis in these three countries," World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said in a statement. 

Other countries: China will send a 59-person mobile laboratory team from its Centre for Disease Control to Sierra Leone, including epidemiologists, clinicians and nurses—bringing the number of Chinese medicos in the country to 174. The EU, Britain, France and Cuba have also pledged to send medical teams and other aid to the region. 

Australia Promises $6.4 Million: Australia has announced it will immediately provide an additional 6.4 million dollars to help the international response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Australia had previously committed $1 million to the international response to the viral disease outbreak.  The fresh funds include $2 million requested by Britain to help that country deliver medical services in Sierra Leone. Another $2.5 million will go to the World Health Organization's consolidated regional response, and $2.5 million will be given to Medecins Sans Frontieres, or Doctors Without Borders, for medical services. 

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