By KABS KANU : The United Nations Security Council will be holding an emergency meeting on Thursday to discuss the Ebola plague spreading across three countries in West Africa, according to diplomats speaking on conditions of anonymity in New York today. It will be the second public health crisis to be discussed by the Security Council . In 2000, the Security Council met to discuss HIV/AIDS.
This announcement comes at a time when the former UN Secretary General , Dr. Kofi Annan , has expressed bitter disappointment with the international response to the Ebola scourge presently ravaging Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.
According to Reuters, Dr. Annan has called for the rapid deployment of specialized units, including military personnel. Said the former UN Boss : “What is a bit surprising here is that many people have died and are dying … and yet we have not acted and responded in a manner that will have a real impact on the ground,” he said.
ABC News today quoted U.S. U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power as saying that the United States has asked the 193 U.N. member states to come to the meeting with “concrete commitments” to tackle the outbreak, especially in hardest-hit Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Ms. Powers said : “The trendlines in this crisis are grave, and without immediate international action we are facing the potential for a public health crisis that could claim lives on a scale far greater than current estimates, and set the countries of West Africa back a generation. ” She added : “This is a perilous crisis but one we can contain if the international community comes together to meet it head on. We can contain this. We know how to do it and we must avoid panic and fear, but our collective response to date has not been sufficient. We must move forward aggressively in a coordinated fashion.”
At Thursday’s meeting, the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will brief the council . It will be followed by statements by World Health Organization chief Dr. Margaret Chan and Dr. David Nabarro, the recently named U.N. coordinator to tackle the disease. Representatives from the affected countries will then make statements.
The Sierra Leone Government International Media Unit of the Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone to the UN will bring you a full coverage .