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UN Chief to convene Ebola recovery conference next month

Ban Ki-moon 1

United Nations:  UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will convene a high-level international conference on Ebola next month to help mobilize resources needed “in the last mile of the response” against the outbreak and to assist the affected West African countries in their path of early recovery.

“All of your investments, all of the sacrifices and lives lost, and all of the risks that the relief workers took would be squandered if the outbreak recurs,” Ban said in his remarks to an informal plenary of the UN General Assembly on the Organization’s Ebola response efforts here yesterday.

Ban said he will convene an international Ebola recovery conference on July 10 that will “address these issues and help mobilize the resources needed to start early recovery” form the epidemic that has affected more than 27,000 people, killing over 11,000 mostly, in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

“My appeal to you is clear: we are in the last mile of the response, but the job is not done. We need you to persist in supporting the region in getting to a resilient zero cases and then beginning to recover,” the UN chief said.

UN Special Envoy on Ebola David Nabarro said vast areas within each country have been free of Ebola for many weeks and that the “green shoots of safe and early recovery have been planted and will contribute to the tapestry of trust and confidence so needed by societies”.

Navarro however warned against complacency, saying that the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates a 50 per cent chance that the disease will recur and need to be controlled in the coming 12 months.

“The challenge facing us all is not only to end the Ebola outbreak but to ensure a healthier and safer future for all the world’s people,” he said. “We still have so much to do.”

He also said the next month’s planned Ebola recovery conference will be followed by the African Union’s efforts to galvanize African people, their governments and their business leaders in solidarity with the affected communities and countries at a July 20 conference in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.

Peter Graaff, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), gave a briefing to the Member States, saying that experience in Liberia, which was declared free of Ebola transmission on May 9, “demonstrates last mile of response is hardest”.

In preparation for the rainy season, Graaff said UNMEER has reinforced capacities in Guinea and Sierra Leone, the World Food Programme has prepositioned supplies and WHO is strengthening national capacities including those in unaffected areas.

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