UN Ebola mission set to deploy in coming days

A new UN mission to combat Ebola will begin work on the ground on Sunday, bringing supplies and equipment to fight the disease`s worst ever outbreak, the mission chief said.

United Nations: A new UN mission to combat Ebola will begin work on the ground on Sunday, bringing supplies and equipment to fight the disease`s worst ever outbreak, the mission chief said.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon created the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) last week and named American Anthony Banbury as head of the team, which will be headquartered in Accra.

"We are moving ahead with all possible speed," Banbury told reporters on Thursday after a high-level meeting in New York called to rev up the international response to the crisis.

"The headquarters will deploy from New York to Accra on Sunday," he said, adding that offices would open in Monrovia, Freetown and Conakry in the following days.

Banbury said his mission will arrive with two million sets of personal protective gear, 470 trucks, up to 18 helicopters and other aircraft to coordinate the response to the outbreak.

Aid groups have harshly criticized the United Nations for its handling of the Ebola crisis, saying it failed to move quickly to mobilize resources and assistance to Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

The United Nations has said nearly $1 billion would be needed to beat back the outbreak of Ebola, which has killed close to 3,000 people and is on track to infect 20,000 people by the end of the year.

A UN agency was created to address the AIDS pandemic, UNAIDS, but this marks the first time that a special mission is set up with the mandate to address a public health emergency.