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Eesti alalise esindaja ÜRO juures, Margus Kolga sõnavõtt Julgeoleku Nõukogu avatud debatil teemal "Rahu ja julgeolek Aafrikas. Ebola.” (inglise keeles)

18.09.2014

I would like to thank the Council and President for convening an open debate on this urgent matter. Estonia fully aligns itself with the statement of the European Union.

The Ebola outbreak has already claimed over 2,400 lives and affected millions of people - and the peak has not even been reached. Half of the cases occurred in the last three weeks. This is not only a public health emergency – this is a humanitarian crisis and global security issue. International action is needed now.

Madam President,

Allow me to sincerely thank the healthcare workers in the frontline for their tireless and courageous efforts to bring this crisis to an end. Their work is carried out under extremely difficult conditions and more than 120 healthcare workers have lost their lives and more than 240 have now been infected.

The high number of infected healthcare workers is also affecting the health systems in the ravaged areas. The need for strengthening the health sector is growing every day as the number of people affected is progressing faster than the ability to manage them. The severe shortages of trained medical staff; health facilities, medical supplies and community education on Ebola must be our main priorities. The World Health Organization has called on more human resources in the affected areas.

Madam President,

We welcome the establishment of a system-wide coordination initiative established by the Secretary General to assist the affected countries in their efforts to halt the spread of the virus.  We highly appreciate the work that has already been done and encourage the continued focus on effective strategies and humanitarian partnerships. We also welcome the plans of setting up an Ebola crisis center to coordinate the response to the deadly virus and to strive to halt the spread in West African countries.

Madame President,

Estonia has already contributed 60,000 euros to the World Health Organisation and has decided to contribute an additional 40,000 euros. We are also sending a doctor to one of the ravage areas to assist in the important work in the health sector.

And I can assure the affected countries that we will work within the EU and its Member States actively to find possible options to reduce the growing isolation of these areas in the region.

Madam President,

If the situation continues, the consequences can be disastrous in terms of lost lives but also in terms of severe poverty, food insecurity and displacements and a high risk of spread to other countries. The situation is now on the verge of becoming a humanitarian catastrophe.

We can stop the spread of Ebola but it will take a coordinated international response to do so. The international community must act now, if we want to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe. We can’t afford not to act.

Thank you.

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