The International Rescue Committee (IRC), on behalf of 34 NGOs battling Ebola in West Africa, has warned that the number of cases is doubling roughly every three weeks and the globe has only four weeks to stop the crisis from spiraling out of control.
Aid organizations have called for a six-point plan to combat the virus at an international summit convened in London to tackle the epidemic.
The charity Save the Children warned that five people are being infected with the virus every hour.
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced earlier this week that more than 3,000 people have died from Ebola so-far in West Africa. 6,500 cases have been officially recorded, but the real number is expected to be far higher, as many victims are dying unreported.
The ‘Defeating Ebola’ conference commenced in London on Thursday. It will highlight the scale of the crisis, just after Dr. David Nabarro, leading the United Nation’s Ebola response, said that epidemic scares him more than either the early years of the HIV virus and SARS.
Sanjayan Srikanthan from the IRC, speaking on behalf of aid organizations and NGOs such as Christian Aid and Oxfam, told delegates that the world has a small “window of opportunity” left to stop the disease spreading further.
“Every day we delay in disbursing resources to affected countries, the more impossible it becomes to contain the disease. The international community has a window of opportunity over the next four weeks to stop the crisis from spreading completely out of control. To do so we must break transmission rates and halt the exponential increase in cases,” he says in a statement prepared for the summit.
A WHO spokesman said that transmission is still widespread in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone with the number of new cases increasing sharply in several districts.