DEC launches unprecedented Ebola aid appeal as death toll surpasses 4,500
An unprecedented aid appeal has been launched by the Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC) after the group announced it has but 60 days to save West Africa from an Ebola human catastrophe.
DEC warned it needed to secure millions of pounds of funding to fight the spread of Ebola and has requested every broadcaster in the UK to carry an aid appeal for donations to help run support centres and medical facilities in West Africa from 29th October.
The umbrella organisation representing 13 major international aid charities including Oxfam, Save the Children, Islamic Relief and the British Red Cross said: “The explosive nature of the outbreak is not only killing people but also ripping apart health services, devastating communities, and destroying people’s ability to support themselves.”
The extensive appeal was the first of its kind that the emergency response organisation had launched in it’s 50 year history. In a statement DEC chief executive Saleh Saeed said: “We have never run an appeal in response to a disease outbreak – until today. In West Africa today we are seeing a disease create not just a medical crisis but a humanitarian emergency. Without urgent action to stop the spread of Ebola and to help those affected by the crisis, parts of West Africa face catastrophe within 60 days.”
First reported cases of Ebola surfaced around the border between Liberia and Sierra Leone. World Health Organisation (WHO) figures show around 4,665 recorded cases of the illness in Liberia and 2,700 deaths and declared the country worst hit by the disease.
WHO predicts up to 10,000 cases from the virus by December in the deadliest effects of Ebola since it was discovered in 1979.
In his appeal the president of WHO Jim Yong Kim mentioned that despite the need for a further 5,000 doctors and the unprecedented scale of the disaster, wealthier nations have remained divided over who should take lead responsibility for the coordination of a humanitarian response.
Speaking alongside Mr Yong Kim, UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon highlighted the failure to control the spread of the virus that has outstripped the international efforts resulting in deaths in the tens of thousands.
On Sunday, Australia was the first country to announce it had closed its borders to persons travelling from Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, in a move many believe would make it harder to fight the disease. Anthony Banbury, head of the UN Ebola Emergency Response Mission (UNMEER) told Reuters: “Anything that will dissuade foreign trained personnel from coming here to West Africa and joining us on the frontline to fight the fight would be very, very unfortunate.”
UK border officials introduced border screening checks in October as many countries gear up to place West Africa under quarantine.