Liberia's Foreign Minister, Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan
Liberia Foreign Minister Urges Robust, Speedy Global Ebola Response
MONROVIA, September 20 (LINA) - Liberia's Foreign Minister, Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan, has urged the global community to be robust and speedy in tackling the spread of the Ebola virus in West Africa.
Minister Ngafuan noted that the global community cannot remain passive
and allow terrifying predictions on the number of persons to be infected by the Ebola virus in the coming weeks and months to come topass.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated some three weeks ago that 20,000 persons run the risk of being infected (half of whom may come from Liberia alone), while US President Barack Obama has expressed fear that if the current trend continues, hundreds of thousands of people may be infected with the virus.
“We cannot sit idly and watch, as we would do watching a movie on our TV screens. The sobering reality is that we are not watching a pre-recorded movie with a pre-determined climax. We, Ebola affected countries, as well as countries, institutions and individuals of good conscience across the globe, are all actors in this evolving plot and can affect the ultimate outcome based on what we do or fail to do. It would be tragically shameful if we failed to act quickly, robustly, and concertedly in putting an end to the spread of this deadly disease", Foreign Minister Ngafuan asserted.
A Foreign Ministry release said the Minister's appeal was contained in his statement delivered Thursday, September 18, at an open debate of the UN Security Council in New York on the topic: "Peace And Security In Africa: Ebola".
Describing the impact of Ebola on Liberia as multidimensional, the Liberian Foreign Minister told the global gathering that the Ebola outbreak has distracted Liberia's attention from some key national priorities and has gravely undermined the country's ability to address the challenges, with the attendant risk of adversely affecting peace and security in Liberia and the region.
"As we mourn daily the loss of a family member, a friend or a fellow citizen as a result of Ebola, we are getting increasingly concerned about the long-term socio-economic difficulties that the Ebola Virus Disease will occasion", he stated.
The Liberian Foreign Minister called the world's attention to the negative impacts the outbreak is leaving on all sectors in the country with the mining, agriculture, and services sectors expected to bear the greatest brunt of the crisis.
He noted that the huge toll Ebola has taken on Liberian health care workers and the country's general health system has seriously undermined Liberia's ability to adequately respond to routine illnesses such as malaria, typhoid fever, measles, and diarrhea and an increasing number of pregnant women are now dying while trying to give life.
Minister Ngafuan hoped that Thursday’s deliberations would spur a response from the global community commensurate with the speed and intensity of the Ebola challenge.
He then extended Liberia's profound appreciation to the Secretary General for his many initiatives, including Ban Ki-Moon's Thursday announcement of a new UN Mission (UNMEER) that would scale up the response and mobilize the international community to deliver urgently needed support in a coordinated manner.
While commending some members of the international community for lending hands of solidarity and empathy to Ebola-affected countries, he again expressed shock and said the Liberian Government remains concerned by the actions of others in imposing travel and other restrictions on Ebola-affected countries.
"We therefore call upon the concerned member states to reconsider their policies in light of the expert advice provided by the specialized international agencies," Ngafuan said.
He added:"We thank the wider international community, including the African Union for all the effort and the resources (financial, human, and material) that have so far been dedicated to the fight against Ebola."
Turning to the U.S. assistance, Minister Ngafuan, on behalf of the Liberian Government and people thanked President Barack Obama and the people of the United States for the “heart-warming announcement” that the US will take a host of bold and concrete initiatives, including the deployment of engineers, military and medical personnel and equipment to the region to establish new treatment units and to train national staff.