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Oxfam warns the world: clock is ticking to disaster in Ebola crisis

This news post is almost 8 years old

Oxfam calls for a ramp up in Europe's military response to halt the Ebola threat

Troops, cash and medical staff are urgently needed to stop the Ebola outbreak from becoming the “definitive humanitarian disaster of our age”, Oxfam has warned.

The charity said the effort to contain the deadly disease must be stepped up, adding that there is now less than a two month window left for action to be effective.

It warned there remains a “crippling shortfall” in military personnel able to help across the areas of west Africa so far affected ­­– particularly Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Oxfam said that while Britain was leading the way in Europe’s response to the epidemic, countries which have failed to commit troops – including Italy and Spain – were “in danger of costing lives”.

We are in the eye of a storm. We cannot allow Ebola to immobilise us in fear, but instead we must move toward a common mission to stop it from getting worse

The charity said it was extremely rare to call for military intervention but troops were desperately needed to build treatment centres, provide flights and offer engineering and logistical support.

More doctors and nurses were required to staff the treatment centres and there was a significant shortfall in funding to support the emergency humanitarian response, the agency warned.

Oxfam has called for EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels on Monday to follow the UK’s lead in responding to the Ebola crisis after the country committed £125 million – the highest sum after the US.

Mark Goldring, Oxfam’s chief executive, said: “We are in the eye of a storm. We cannot allow Ebola to immobilise us in fear, but instead we must move toward a common mission to stop it from getting worse.

“Countries that have failed to commit troops, doctors and enough funding are in danger of costing lives. The speed and scale of the intervention needed is unprecedented. Only a concerted and coordinated global effort will stop the spread."

The charity said that while treatment is important reducing the spread of infection is equally vital.

“The Ebola crisis could become the definitive humanitarian disaster of our generation," added. Goldring.

Meanwhile, Scottish charity Mary’s Meals has revealed it is still continuing to feed 70,000 children in Liberia – despite the country being gripped by Ebola.

The epidemic has forced schools to close but vital provisions are being delivered by charity workers who risk their lives to save starving youngsters.

Mary’s Meals founder Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow said: “Before this outbreak we were giving meals to 130,000 children and we had a very efficient distribution scheme.

“That was all dismantled by the Ebola outbreak so we have to adapt. The way people have pooled their resources to get the food out there is incredible.”

Nicholas Street, Mary’s Meals director in Liberia, said: “There is a lot of fear and mistrust which the country is struggling against. We are really up against it.”



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