U.S. envoy in West Africa to see how world failing in Ebola fight

The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, arrived in Guinea’s capital Conakry on Sunday to see first hand how the global response is failing to stop the deadly spread of Ebola in West Africa.

Power, who will also visit Sierra Leone and Liberia, said

she hopes to gain a better understanding of which resources are missing so she can push other countries to offer more help.

The three West African countries are bearing the brunt of the worst outbreak of the hemorrhagic fever on record that the World Health Organization (WHO) says has killed nearly 5,000 people. A small number of cases have also been reported in Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Spain and the United States.

“We are not on track right now to bend the curve,” Power told Reuters. “I will take what I know and I learn and obviously provide it to President Obama, who’s got world leaders now on speed dial on this issue.”

“Hopefully the more specific we can be in terms of what the requirements are and what other countries could usefully do, the more resources we can attract,” she said.

The United Nations said last month almost $1 billion was needed to fight Ebola for the next six months. According to the U.N. Financial Tracking Service, nearly $500 million has been committed and a further $280 million in non-binding pledges made.

“As we have seen, along with Spain, it is not a virus that is going to remain contained within these three effected countries if we don’t deal with it at its source,” Power said.

Aid groups on the ground say that what is needed are more doctors, nurses and treatment centers. Ebola patients are being turned away when there are not enough beds and usually cared for at home, where they risk infecting more people, aid workers say.

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Eric Write head editor and chief at The Pluto Daily