Ebola crisis: No impact from pledges of help, MSF says

ebolaLiberia has had the largest number of deaths from the virus

International pledges of deployments and aid for Africa’s Ebola-hit regions have not yet had any impact on the epidemic, a major medical charity says.

Christopher Stokes of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said the disease was still out of control.

He said it was “ridiculous” that volunteers working for his charity were bearing the brunt of care in the worst-affected countries.

The disease has killed about 4,500 people so far, mostly in West Africa.

MSF runs about 700 out of the 1,000 beds available in treatment facilities Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

The BBC’s Mark Doyle, at the UN Ebola logistics base in Ghana, says it is generally agreed that at least three times that number are needed.

Sierra Leone boy: “I’ve lost five members of my family”

Donors have given almost $400m (£250m) to UN agencies and aid organisations, following an appeal launched in September for $988m.

Separately, the UN is seeking $1bn for an Ebola trust fund, to provide a flexible source of back-up money to contain Ebola.

But UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday made another urgent appeal, saying the trust fund had received only $100,000 – from Colombia – though $20m has been pledged.

Meanwhile, the WHO has announced that Senegal is now officially free of Ebola, as it has gone 42 days without any sign of the virus.

There was one confirmed case of Ebola in the country, in late August, and the patient survived.

Growing chorus

Mr Stokes, who leads MSF’s Ebola response, said promises from the international community were encouraging “but it is not having any significant impact on the epidemic and it won’t now for maybe another month or month and a half”.


“We’ve been calling for massive deployments for several months now and the deployments are always behind the curve.”

Another NGO, Action Aid, said the outbreak had to be tackled at source in West Africa.

Its head of humanitarian response, Mike Noyes, said in a statement: “There remains an urgent demand in countries like Liberia and Sierra Leone for more doctors, nurses, medical supplies and support for preventative measures.

“It is vital the world increase its efforts in fighting the disease.”

Calls for more aid have also been made in recent days by US President Barack Obama, UK PM David Cameron, and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim.

In other developments:

A US healthcare worker who may have come into contact with Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan is on a cruise ship in the Caribbean and has voluntarily isolated herself in her cabin
President Obama is to name Ron Klain – a former aide – as Ebola “tsar” in charge of containing the virus in the US, CNN reports

Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has told the BBC he was “bitterly disappointed” with the international community’s response.

“If the crisis had hit some other region it probably would have been handled very differently,” he said in an interview with BBC Newsnight.

“In fact when you look at the evolution of the crisis, the international community really woke up when the disease got to America and Europe.”

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