United Nations declares Ebola outbreak as threat to peace and security

UNITED NATIONS: The UN Security Council has declared the Ebola outbreak in West Africa a threat to peace and security, with UN chief Ban Ki-moon deciding to deploy an “unprecedented” emergency health mission to combat the outbreak that has impacted the lives of millions.

The Council president, US Ambassador Samantha Power, said this was the Council’s first emergency meeting on a public health issue.Ban announced at the Council meeting the formation of the new organisation to take on the disease on a battle—footing.

“To be known as the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response, or UNMEER,” he said, it “will have five priorities: stopping the outbreak, treating the infected, ensuring essential services, preserving stability and preventing further outbreaks.”

He appealed for international aid for the effort, not only from governments, but also businesses. The UN has estimated that it would need $1 billion over the next six months to deal with the crisis.

Ban also called for ending travel and trade restrictions on three affected countries-Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leon-as these could affect medical personnel going there and delivery of supplies. The Council resolution took up the issue, expressing concern about major airlines and shipping companies introducing travel restrictions to the affected countries.

World Health Organisation head Margaret Chan told the Council that reports Ebola has affected more than 5,500 people and killed over 2,500 killed are “vast underestimates”.“None of us experienced in containing outbreaks has ever seen, in our lifetimes, an emergency on this scale, with this degree of suffering and with this magnitude of cascading consequences,” she said.

courtesy : IANS

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