Sierra Leone at the UN International Ebola Recovery Conference

Archive, undated photo of President Koroma
President Koroma made a passionate call Friday at the United Nation's International Ebola Recovery Conference in New York, which will seek to raise $3.2 billion over the next two years so that Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone can fully rebound from the crisis.

According to Sylvia Blyden, a Sierra Leonean reporter covering the event on social media, Justine Greening, United Kingdom Secretary of State for International Development,  pledged $400 Million to Ebola Recovery efforts.

On the eve of the high-level segment of the Conference, taking place at UN Headquarters, Dr. David Nabarro, the Secretary-General's Special Envoy on Ebola, told reporters about “remarkable progress [that] has been made through the outstanding efforts of the people and governments of the affected countries.”

“Most of the affected region is now free of Ebola,” Dr. Nabarro said of the epidemic that began last year and has affected some 27,600 people, including more than 11,000 deaths, mostly in West Africa.
Justine Greening, United Kingdom Secretary of State for International Development, at the International Ebola Conference Friday, July 10, pledged $400 Million to Ebola Recovery efforts. (Photo courtesy of Sylvia Blyden)

"The numbers of transmission chains have reduced in the last few weeks. There are some new cases, but when they do a merge they can easily be traced back to existing transmission chains," he said.

But at the same time, he stressed that the recent discovery of new cases in Liberia is “a reminder of the absolute importance of remaining vigilant until the very end of the outbreak and responding quickly to any new flare-ups when they occur […] and I'm delighted to say that the response to the Liberian recent flare-up has been rapid and effective."

Click here to listen to President Koroma's call at the United Nations 

Full text of President Koroma's address:

Let me start by applauding the Secretary General for organizing this most important conference.

I also congratulate my colleague and sister, Her Excellency Helen Johnson-Sirleaf for the apt presentation of our Mano River Recovery Plan.

My brother and Colleague, His Excellency Prof Alpha Conde and I fully endorse her presentation, and we seek the support of the world to move it forward. With your very laudable support, and the heroism of thousands of Ebola Response Workers, we have pinned down the virus to a few neighborhoods in our countries. But that Ebola is still in a few areas means we are not Ebola free, it means the Mano River Union is not Ebola free, it means the world is not Ebola free.

The battle now is to get the few cases down to zero, and getting our counties and the whole world to stay at zero. This is the most difficult battle of all. It involves building the resilience to stay at zero, it involves rebuilding our health sectors, caring for the survivors, and supporting the orphans and the widows brought unto that very vulnerable position by the virus.

It involves getting kids back to schools that remain safe, and shoring up the private sector as a means of rebuilding livelihoods and putting the countries back on the trajectory of growth and promise that were very visible before the virus struck.

Ebola is the deadliest of the zoonotic transmissions that are increasingly threatening humanity all over the globe. Humanity has the knowledge to combat this virus; humanity has the resources to shore up the resilience of the countries that this virus is keen on using as staging point for its assault on all humanity.

We are here because we believe the leaders of humanity gathered here today are very committed to making the world Ebola free; we were witnesses unto your mobilization of resources and skills at the heat of the battle in August, September and November 2014.

But we also know that humanity sometimes displays short attention spans and may want to move on to other issues because the threat from Ebola seems over. No, no and no. The threat is never over until we rebuild the health sectors Ebola demolished; until we rebuild livelihoods in agriculture that it compromised, until we shore up government revenues it dried up; and until we breathe life again unto the private sector it has suffocated.

We are here because we believe that with your dedication to making the world Ebola free, the funding and other resources to do this are within reach; and you will support our region and countries secure and deploy those resources in optimal, transparent and accountable ways.

The experts tell us that Ebola is a stubborn enemy that usually stages comebacks. Support for our recovery programme will prevent this comeback, and give all of us the skills, expertise and experience to tackle deadly zoonotic transmissions wherever they threaten humanity.

We have learned many lessons from the outbreak. The lessons inform our national and regional recovery plans. These are plans put together with the support of many of the experts the world deployed to help us fight back Ebola and build resilient systems to combat future outbreaks.

The plans in essence are global plans for combating the virus in the Mano River Union, and they require global support to make them work.

We are committed to making the plans work because making them work has the urgency of a life and death situation for over twenty million people in our countries; it is a matter of life and death for the billions more that our globalized world has put within arms reach of these twenty million people.

This is a battle for all of us. We should not relent; securing final victory against this evil virus requires meeting the goals of this conference: mobilizing and deploying support for the regional and national recovery plans of the three most affected countries.

I thank you all for your attention

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