The United Nations, has requested the sum of $1billion to help fight the outbreak of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease EVD, in West Africa.

The UN’s Ebola coordinator, David Nabarro, made this known on Tuesday, at a briefing in Geneva, United States.

He said the health crisis in modern times posed by Ebola could be alarming hence the fund was needed to quickly contain the outbreak which has increased ten-fold in the past month.

The Ebola coordinator said although Nigeria and Senegal seem to have contained the spread of the virus, other West African countries like Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia are still vulnerable.

“We requested about $100m a month ago and now it is $1bn, so our task has gone up 10 times in a month,” Nabarro said. “Because of the way the outbreak is advancing, the level of surge we need to do is unprecedented, it is massive.” 

Speaking also at the briefing, WHO deputy head Bruce Aylward gave a hint on the latest figures on Ebola cases. He said the disease had so far infected at least 4,985 people, with about half of them dying.

“Quite frankly, ladies and gentlemen, this health crisis we’re facing is unparalleled in modern times. We don’t know where the numbers are going on this,” he said.

According to the World Health Organization, Ebola has killed about 2,461 people since it broke in Guinea and eventually spread to the neighbouring countries of Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Meanwhile, Nigeria later had its share of the endemic as it would be recalled that on July 20, 2014, a Liberian-American, Patrick Sawyer, reportedly imported the disease to the country before he died of it few days after. As continued efforts to contain the spread of the disease, the umbrella body of all teachers in the country, Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) has directed it members to ignore the September 22, resumption date as directed by the Federal government, although about three states had already expressed preparedness to resume academic activities in their various schools.

However, there has been criticism of the slow international response to the epidemic in West Africa.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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