LONDON (Reuters) – Britain made a plea for international help to deal with the world’s worst Ebola outbreak at the start of a conference in London on Thursday, with one charity warning that five people are being infected with the virus every hour in Sierra Leone.
Ebola has killed at least 3,338 in West Africa – mainly in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia – out of 7,178 cases as of Sept 28, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says, and cases have been recorded elsewhere, including in the United States.
Sierra Leone’s president, Ernest Bai Koroma, cancelled his attendance at the conference just hours before it started. His plane had had technical problems, Britain’s Foreign Office said.
Speaking on Thursday before the “Defeating Ebola” conference began, Britain’s Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, called for countries to increase financial aid as well as other vital help including
medical expertise, transport and supplies.
“We need help from the international community to provide us with the doctors and nurses, so we’re asking other countries to piggy back on the structure we’ve put in place,” he said.
“Britain’s got a footprint on the ground in Sierra Leone, we’ve got military engineers there, we’ve got a big DFID presence, we’ve got a plan to roll out a large number of additional Ebola treatment beds,” he said.