UNITED NATIONS, October 15 (RIA Novosti) - The impact of Ebola on West Africa has been not only medical, but also political, UN Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs Taye-Brook Zerihoun told the UN Security Council on Tuesday.
"As the outbreak of the Ebola virus disease enters its 42nd week, it has hampered efforts of regional groupings in implementing cross-border security strategies and in taking steps to strengthen regional economic and monetary integration," Zerihoun said.
According to the assistant secretary general, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have been hit particularly hard by the epidemic.
In Liberia, "the constitutional review process was temporarily suspended due to the ongoing state of emergency, and senatorial elections scheduled for October may be postponed," Zerihoun said.
In Sierra Leone, "lack of information about the medical facts of the disease has fueled resentment, leading to low-level public disturbances, attacks on the police and attempts to vandalize treatment centers in Freetown."
Turning to Guinea, Zerihoun stated that "the security situation remains tense in the regional capital of Nzerekore, following last month's murder of a team of Guinean health and government officials who had been distributing information on the outbreak in the nearby town of Womey."
"The Ebola outbreak has isolated Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Except from Mali, all neighbors have closed their common land borders and are maintaining restrictions on incoming flights from the three affected countries. The isolation is projected to have grave economic consequences for the three countries and the sub-region," Zerihoun said.
"The international community must continue to provide support to the sub-region and affected countries in their efforts to effectively stop, treat and prevent a looming pandemic, to ensure that the hard won peace and security gains made in the sub-region are protected and preserved," he concluded.
The current Ebola epidemic in West Africa broke out in Guinea in February and soon spread to the neighboring countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, and Senegal. According to the latest WHO estimates, more than 4,000 people have lost their lives in the outbreak.