United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued an urgent appeal for contributions to a U.N. fund established last month to tackle the Ebola epidemic, the BBC reports. The fund, with a $1-billion target, has received pledges of $20-million from donor governments, of which only $100,000 has been paid, by Colombia.
Donors have given almost $400-million to aid charities and other U.N. agencies, but the trust fund was set up specifically to offer "flexibility in responding to a crisis which every day brings new challenges," said David Nabarro, the UN special envoy on Ebola. "It allows the areas of greatest need to be identified and funds to be directed accordingly."
Officials in West African nations hit hard by the outbreak warn the medical crisis could soon become a hunger emergency without international food and financial aid, writes the Associated Press. Agriculture ministers from Sierra Leone and Liberia said the fast-spreading virus has decimated farming regions and slashed the countries' economic-growth forecasts.