Ebola: US ambassador hits out at countries failing to help West Africa

Samantha Power begins tour of worst-affected countries with criticism of international efforts

Samantha Power meets officials at the Guinea Ebola Co-ordination Centre in Conakry.
Samantha Power meets officials at the Guinea Ebola Co-ordination Centre in Conakry. Photograph: STAFF/REUTERS

The US ambassador to the United Nations has criticised the level of international support for nations hit by Ebola as she begins a tour of west African nations at the epicentre of the deadly outbreak.

Samantha Power said before arriving in Guinea on Sunday that too many leaders were praising the efforts of countries like the US and Britain to accelerate aid to the worst-affected nations, while doing little themselves.

“The international response to Ebola needs to be taken to a wholly different scale than it is right now,” Power told NBC News.

She said many countries were “signing on to resolutions and praising the good work that the United States and the United Kingdom and others are doing, but they themselves haven’t taken the responsibility yet to send docs, to send beds, to send the reasonable amount of money”.

Besides Guinea, Power will travel to Sierra Leone and Liberia – the three nations that account for the vast majority of the 4,922 deaths from the Ebola epidemic.

More than 10,000 people have contracted the virus in west Africa, according to the latest World Health Organisation figures.

Another country in the region, Mali, is scrambling to prevent a wider outbreak after a two-year-old girl died from her Ebola infection following a 600-mile bus ride from Guinea. She was Mali’s first recorded case of the disease.

An adviser to the Malian health ministry said the 43 people placed under medical observation in Kayes in western Mali – where the girl died on Friday – showed no signs of the illness.

About a dozen other people were also being observed in the capital, Bamako, where the girl had spent about three hours visiting relatives on the way to Kayes.

Mauritania meanwhile reinforced controls on its border with Mali, which effectively closed the frontier, according to local sources.

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