Top United Nations officials charged with overseeing the body's response to the Ebola outbreak warned Friday that the Ebola outbreak is spreading and is already threatening the entire world, and said only global coordination will help isolate and defeat it.
The UN meeting heard from Dr. David Nabarro, the UN's senior system coordinator for Ebola, who said the outbreak is now worse than any virus movie he's ever seen.
David Nabarro, senior United Nations system coordinator for Ebola, said Friday that the Ebola outbreak is worse than any film he's seen on virus outbreaks. Andrew Burton/Getty Images
"You sometimes see films about this sort of thing, and you imagine, how could such a thing happen?" Nabarro told the assembly. "This is more extreme than any film I have ever seen."
Nabarro said he's never seen a bigger medical challenge in his life, as the virus has now spread to the point where there is no longer centered in any single geographic spot.
"This outbreak has moved out of rural areas and has come in to towns and cities," he said. "It's no longer just affecting a very defined geographical location. It's affecting a whole region, and it's now also impacting on the whole world."
"And this outbreak is advancing quite rapidly ahead of the control effort," he added. "And the rest of us are having to work really hard to catch up and overtake it."
Nabarro said a "mass mobilization" is needed to ensure countries work together to put in place the infrastructure needed to contain the virus.
"We have to recognize it's spreading very rapidly, probably doubling in numbers of cases every three to four weeks," he said. "Without a global movement, it will be impossible to get this disease quickly under control, and the world will have to live with the Ebola virus forever."
He said the UN would continue asking UN member nations for more money and resources, mirroring comments from other UN officials on Friday. UN General Assembly President Sam Kutesa said he was asking for countries who already contributed to contribute more.
Deputy Secretary-General of the General Assembly Jan Eliasson said money is needed urgently. "A contribution within days is more important than a larger contribution within weeks," he said.
Earlier this week, Secretary of State John Kerry pleaded for other countries to help fill the $300 million funding gap the UN is still facing as it tries to develop a $1 billion fund to fight Ebola.