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‘Hundreds of millions of dollars’ needed to stave off Ebola outbreak in Congo, UN aid chief warns

‘Hundreds of millions of dollars’ needed to stave off Ebola outbreak in Congo, UN aid chief warns
Containing the ongoing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo will require hundreds of millions of dollars, the UN’s aid chief has warned, stating that many lives are at risk if proper action is not taken.

Speaking at a meeting in Geneva, Mark Lowcock, who heads the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), urged the international community to increase funding for his agency’s aid efforts in the African nation. He also called on UN states to work together to end the violence in the region that has plagued relief efforts and fueled a major humanitarian crisis.

Lowcock told Reuters that “hundreds of millions of dollars” would be needed to respond to the epidemic, described by officials as Congo’s worst recorded Ebola outbreak. Many lives are at stake if adequate measures aren’t taken, Lowcock added.

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The number of Ebola cases in the country is closing in on 2,500, with a death toll at over 1,600.

The crisis has garnered international attention after the deadly haemorrhagic fever spread to neighboring Uganda in June. A vaccine to prevent the spread of the rare but devastating virus is still under development, and is being used in the DRC and Uganda to try to stem its transmission.

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