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Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak - Overview of Needs and Requirements (Sept. 2014)

The past six months have witnessed an unprecedented Ebola outbreak that has affected five countries in West Africa and threatens to compromise the social, political and economic fabric of the sub-Saharan African region.

It is clear that the rate at which the virus is spreading is increasing. Indeed, initial analysis indicates that the virus may be approaching an exponential growth rate, and could be doubling approximately every three weeks. There are well-founded concerns that the outbreak could kill thousands more before it can be brought under control. Such is the extent of uncertainty around the evolution of the outbreak, that estimates of total impact vary amongst the world’s most prominent infectious disease institutions. To date, over 2,400 people have died from ebola.

The Governments of the affected countries have been responding to the outbreak since it first emerged in March 2015. A number of external issues such as difficulty in accessing affected countries and communities; internal dynamics (low capacity of national health systems and the unavailability of the requisite medical personnel and goods on a scale adequate to prevent, trace and treat the disease) and epidemiological reasons limit these Governments’ capacity.

To respond to both the health and non-health aspects of the crisis the World Health Organization has declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), and the UN Secretary General has activated the United Nations Operations and Crisis Centre, appointing senior staff members to lead the UN’s collective response to the crisis.

Operation(s)/ Webspace(s): 
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Original Publication Date: 
16 Sep 2014
Document type: 
Inter-Cluster Coordination
Coordination hub(s): 
Bureau Régional pour l'Afrique de l'Ouest et du Centre
West Africa: Ebola Outbreak 2014 - 2015