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Ebola response too little, too late?

Friday, September 26, 2014 - 02:28

Liberia raises an economic red flag on the ebola outbreak. Its mining sector is suffering - and that may trigger a recession, according to its commerce minister. Ciara Lee reports on the latest developments, and asks whether developed nations are offering any effective response.

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Liberia - the west African country hardest hit by the worst Ebola outbreak in history. When the country's President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf addressed the United Nations via video link, world leaders couldn't help but take notice. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PRESIDENT ELLEN JOHNSON SIRLEAF OF LIBERIA VIA VIDEOCONFERENCE SAYING (QUALITY AS INCOMING): "Partners and friends, based on understandable fears, have ostracized us. Shipping and airline services have sanctioned us. And the world has taken some time to fully appreciate and adequately respond to the enormity of our tragedy. We are fighting back!" Her thoughts echoe that of many who feel the international community isn't doing enough to tackle the epidemic. U.S. President Barack Obama says countries need to work to together. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SAYING: "We can build the infrastructure and the architecture to get help in, but we're going to need others to contribute.'' Liberia has secured imports of food staples until December but is urging foreign donors to do more. The outbreak which began in a remote corner of Guinea has taken hold of much of neighboring Liberia and Sierra Leone, killing nearly 3,000 people. Liberia says the economic blow may trigger a recession next year. Mining and trade have been particularly hurt, while airlines suspended flights as expatriate workers fled. Axel Addy is the country's commerce and industry minister. (SOUNDBITE) (English) LIBERIA'S COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY MINISTER, AXEL ADDY, SAYING: "On the local production side is where the challenge is. You know Lofa county, which is our breadbasket, it's one of the counties hardest hit with the spread of the ebola virus." Sierra Leone has put over a third of the country's districts under indefinite quarantine in a bid to fight the virus. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON SAYING: "We should consider whether the world needs a standby corps of medical professionals, backed by the expertise of WHO and the logistical capacity of the United Nations. Just as our troops in blue helmets help keep people safe, a corps in white coats could help keep people healthy." But the new quarantines could further hamper major iron ore firms operating in Sierra Leone. One district, Port Loko, is home to London Mining's concession and African Minerals has its rail and port services there.

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Ebola response too little, too late?

Friday, September 26, 2014 - 02:28