Ebola Claims UN Security Council’s Attention

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The outspread of the Ebola virus in West Africa with Liberia highly hit has claimed the United Nations Security Council’s attention and it is strategically planning to help contain the virus.

According to a dispatch from New York, the Security Council in its emergency meeting on public health crisis unanimously passed a resolution declaring the spread of the virus as a “Threat to international peace and security” and called on the world to send more healthcare workers and supplies to Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

As a matter of concern for now, many of the speakers stressed that the epidemic is so tragic because the three countries have made some significant progress to contain and yet it continues to spread like wide fire.

Chaired by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, chairperson Power noted with emphasis that the resolution had 130 co-sponsors more than any previous one in the history of the Security Council.

Several speakers including the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon noted that the situation in West Africa requires a quick response as affected leaders have frequently asked for assistance to the health emergency in the region.

"The gravity and scale of the situation now requires a level of international action unprecedented for health emergencies. … The leaders of the affected countries have asked the United Nations to coordinate the global response. We are committed to do what is needed with the speed and scale required.”

Secretary General Ban noted during the meeting that the situation was an unprecedented one and it therefore requires unprecedented steps to save lives and safeguard peace and security.

“This unprecedented situation requires unprecedented steps to save lives and safeguard peace and security. Therefore I have decided to establish a United Nations health mission combining the World Health Organization’s strategic perspective with a very strong logistics and operational capability. This international mission, to be known as the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response, or UNMEER, will have five priorities: stopping the outbreak, treating the infected, insuring essential services, preserving stability, and preventing further outbreaks."

David Nabarro, senior U.N. System Coordinator for Ebola virus disease intoned that the disease outbreak is advancing at an exponential speed with the doubling speed to be every 3 weeks.

Mr. Nabarro is of the view that the international community and UN should make sure that different offers for support be coordinated effectively with a very powerful platform that enables everybody to work in the region safely and not get themselves infected with the virus.

He called on the chairman of the meeting, Samantha Power to invite the world to come in behind the countries and behind their people to get a rapid out outcome.

For Margaret Chan of the World Health Organization, she noted that this deadly and dreaded Ebola virus got ahead of the world in a fast-moving outbreak as described by speakers earlier.

“Now we must catch up in the most urgent and pragmatic way possible because this is likely the greatest peacetime challenge that the United Nations and its agencies have ever faced.”

Physician Assistant at an Ebola treatment center in Monrovia, Jackson Niamah is recorded to have noted, "One day this week, I sat outside the treatment center eating my lunch. I met a boy who burst through the gates. His father had died from Ebola a week ago. I saw him with blood at the mouth. We had no space. We could not take him in. … When he turned away, he walked into town, and I thought to myself, this boy is going to take a taxi and he is going to go home and infect his family. …

Please send your helicopters, your centers, your beds, and your expert personnel. But know that we also need the basics. There are still homes in Monrovia that do not have soap, water, and buckets. Even these simple things could help curb the spread of the virus.

The future of my country is hanging in the balance. … We do not have the capacity to respond to the crisis on our own. If the international community does not stand up, we will be wiped out. We need your help. We need it now."

Chairman Samantha Power at the concluding point of the discussion noted, “Today instead of isolating the affected countries we call for flooding them, flooding them with the resources that are desperately needed to turn the tide in this fight. … If today’s resolution is not followed by action on a scale and scope commensurate to the virus, this resolution will be cited years from now as evidence that we raised hope that we didn’t deliver on."

Meanwhile, Dr. Elwood Dunn, a retired Minister of State for Presidential Affairs in Liberia had earlier sounded the whistle the Ebola crisis in West Africa was a threat to international peace and security, and therefore called for the United Nations Security Council for immediate measures.

In a guest editorial recently written by Dr. Dunn, said, “It was far past time for the world community to step up its engagement from a public health emergency of international concern.  The evidence of the threat is abundant since the Ebola outbreak began making headlines worldwide a few months ago—the unfolding drama in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea with the declination of large population segments, destruction of cherished human values human insecurity on the unprecedented scale, including the absence of medical attention to non-Ebola ailments.”

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