Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at an event on the Ebola epidemic, in Washington, D.C., today:
The West Africans are scared. They need our urgent help. The world fears Ebola too. That is why we are here. The best antidote to fear is an effective and urgent response. We need a 20-fold resource mobilization.
We meet today to build on the High-Level Meeting on Ebola that I convened about ten days ago with President [Barack] Obama and other leaders at UN Headquarters.
We have five priorities. First, we must stop the outbreak. Second, we must treat the infected people. Third, we must provide essential services. Fourth, we must preserve stability. Fifth, we must prevent outbreaks in non-affected countries.
I commend the World Bank for approving $400 million in grants and loans for the three affected countries, and the African Development Bank for its swift intervention.
I thank the United Kingdom and Sierra Leone for last week’s pledging conference in London. And I applaud the courage of the many medical and support personnel working to help the people of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
The United Nations is providing a system-wide response, through UNMEER [United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response], with WHO [World Health Organization] at its centre. Yesterday, I convened a United Nations system-wide meeting, with Dr. Margaret Chan participating, and Dr. David Nabarro and Tony Banbury both participating.
Dozens of countries are providing life-saving contributions. These are the building blocks for a global response coalition.
But let me be clear. Cases are growing exponentially. We need, as I said, at least a 20-fold surge in assistance — mobile laboratories, vehicles, helicopters, protective equipment, trained medical personnel, and medevac capacities. We must work together to provide the best standard of care for each individual.
Things will get worse before they get better. How much worse depends on us, the international community. So for those who have pledged, I say today, please deliver now. And for those who have yet to pledge, I say, please do so soon. And I have instructed my UN principal leaders: Do not wait for a decision. It’s a matter of action. I say: Don’t wait for clearance; we need to act.
I think we can beat this disease. It is time for the international community to step up.