Liberian president asks 'world' to pitch in to fight Ebola

A member of the NGO U Fondation leaves a house after visiting quarantined family members suffering from the Ebola virus in Monrovia on October 16, 2014 (AFP Photo/Zoom Dosso) (AFP/File)

Monrovia (AFP) - Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf made an impassioned appeal to the world's nations to pitch in to the fight against Ebola, saying the "time for talking or theorising is over."

Sirleaf said the three worst-hit west Africa nations -- her own and neighbouring Guinea and Sierra Leone -- were being devastated because what infrastructure they had was destroyed in a series of interconnected wars.

Now, the world had realised it could no longer hope to "pull up the drawbridge and wish the situation away," the Nobel laureate said in an open letter to the BBC put online on Sunday.

"This fight requires a commitment from every nation that has the capacity to help -- whether that is with emergency funds, medical supplies or clinical expertise," she said.

"From governments to international organisations, financial institutions to NGOs, politicians to ordinary people on the street in any corner of the world, we all have a stake in the battle against Ebola."

The worst-ever outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus has so far killed more than 4,500 people, almost all in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, but isolated cases have now begun to appear in Europe and the United States.

"This disease respects no borders," the president said.

"The damage it is causing in West Africa, whether in public health, the economy or within communities -- is already reverberating throughout the region and across the world," she said.

Sirleaf criticised the initial global response as "inconsistent and lacking in clear direction or urgency," but added that "finally, the world has woken up."