The United Nations Security Council in its first emergency meeting on public health crisis in New York yesterday, declared the Ebola outbreak in West Africa as a threat to peace and security.
This is coming barely 24 hours after the UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, announced that the United Nations would deploy a new emergency health mission to combat one of the most horrific diseases on the planet which he said had shattered the lives of millions.
Expressing concern about the detrimental effect of the isolation of Ebola-hit Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone as a result of trade and travel restrictions imposed on the affected countries, the council called on member states, including those of the region, to respect such restrictions imposed as a result of the outbreak, and to facilitate the delivery of assistance, including qualified, specialised and trained personnel and supplies to the affected countries.
During the meeting, president of the Security Council for the month of September, US Ambassador, Samantha Power, said only twice before has the Security Council met to discuss the security implications of a public health issue – both times on the AIDS epidemic.
In its resolution, the council expressed concern about the travel restrictions imposed by major airlines and shipping companies to the affected countries.
While briefing the security council over the outbreak, Mr Ban Ki-moon said “this international mission, to be known as the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response, or UNMEER, will have five priorities: stopping the outbreak, treating the infected, ensuring essential services, preserving stability and preventing further outbreaks.”
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