US 'not running' from Ebola: UN ambassador

AFP , Wednesday 29 Oct 2014

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power speaks at the U.N. Ebola response mission (UNMEER) warehouse at its headquarters in Accra, Ghana October 29, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)

The United States is "not running away" from the deadliest ever Ebola outbreak, despite the size of the challenge and the virus hitting two US cities, the country's UN ambassador said Wednesday.

Samantha Power made the comments in Ghana's capital Accra, her final stop on a tour of west Africa, where the virus has killed nearly 5,000 people.

"I think the most important feature of the American response to this is we are not running away from the epidemic," she said after visiting the headquarters of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER).

Power this week criticised the level of international support for countries hit by Ebola and said foreign governments needed to do more to send doctors and equipment.

The United States has deployed both military and civilian personnel to the region to build hospitals and provide logistical and other assistance.

Three Ebola cases have been recorded in Texas and another in New York City.

The only person to die from Ebola at a US hospital was Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian national.

Power's regional tour included stops in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, which have been hardest hit by the outbreak.

UNMEER head Anthony Banbury reiterated his call for more money and doctors to fight the disease.

He said the mission needed over 50 Ebola treatment centres but only has 33 set up.

The UN mission has also faced challenges in deciding where to deploy its limited resources, he added.

"We have to make sure though that the beds are placed at the right locations and that depends on good information on exactly where the disease is," Banbury said.

"It's very hard to get very accurate epidemiological information of what exactly are the new cases, where are they, what are the causes of transmission, and to properly fight this disease, that information is critical."

While the number of new infections has soared to more than 13,700 -- up from just over the 10,000 reported on Saturday according to the World Health Organization -- some have voiced cautious hope that progress is being made.

The WHO said most of the new confirmed cases were those of previously unreported patients, not new infections.

Meanwhile US President Barack Obama and the Red Cross have offered hope that the battle against the deadly outbreak is being won, amid a dramatic drop in bodies collected in Liberia's capital.

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