Need greater recovery efforts in Ebola-hit countries: UN

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Monday called for ramping up recovery efforts in West Africa where the Ebola virus had wreaked havoc.

IANS| Last Updated: Dec 23, 2014, 09:53 AM IST

United Nations: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Monday called for ramping up recovery efforts in West Africa where the Ebola virus had wreaked havoc.

While speaking to reporters at the UN headquarters here upon his return from the affected regions in Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone and Ghana, Ban said that progress was being made and there was a decline in the rate of transmission of the virus in many places, according to a Xinhua report.

"We must step up recovery efforts now," he noted, adding that he has asked the UN system, led by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), to plan a recovery for the region.

"That means restoring essential services, getting children back in school, getting people back to work, rebuilding shattered economies and caring for thousands of orphans," the UN secretary-general said.

Ban also pointed out that the "international community needs better early warning and rapid response (systems)".

"I intend to engage the member states in a serious effort to explore what more we can do to stay ahead of the next outbreak of disease -- a test that is sure to come," he said.

He emphasised on the need for more resources and help, in the form of human resources, health workers, as well as financial, equipment and logistical support, for the countries and people affected by Ebola.

According to Ban's spokesperson Stephane Dujarric, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation (CFPA) have planned a public fundraising campaign with Tencent, one of the world's largest Internet companies, to raise funds to fight Ebola.

Funds raised from the campaign will go towards WFP's emergency operations to meet basic food and nutrition needs of affected families and communities in the three worst Ebola-hit countries -- Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), a total of 18,603 confirmed cases of infection by the Ebola virus have been reported in Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, and the US and three previously affected countries of Nigeria, Senegal and Spain. There have been 6,915 reported deaths.