UN Security Council to take action on Ebola

Guinea's Red Cross health workers prepare to carry the body of a victim at the MSF Ebola treatement centre near the hospital in Conakry on September 14, 2014 (AFP Photo/Cellou Binani)

United Nations (United States) (AFP) - Describing the Ebola outbreak as a threat to world peace, the UN Security Council is set to adopt a resolution urging countries to provide field hospitals and other urgent aid to West Africa.

A draft of the resolution obtained by AFP on Tuesday also calls on nations to lift travel and border restrictions, and asks airlines and shipping companies to maintain their links with affected countries.

The council is expected to approve the resolution at an emergency session on Thursday, marking only the third time that it will be voting on measures to address a public health crisis.

The top world body adopted resolutions to combat AIDS in 2000 and 2011.

"This has gone beyond health issues," UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said of the epidemic tha has killed more than 2,400 people in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

"It has gone to areas affecting social and economic situations. It may even affect political stability if not properly contained and treated."

The United Nations on Tuesday said nearly one billion dollars would be needed to beat back the worst-ever outbreak of Ebola, which is on track to infect 20,000 people by the end of the year.

The draft resolution notes that the "unprecedented extent of the Ebola outbreak constitutes a threat to international peace and security" and warns that "peacebuilding gains... could be reversed" in West Africa.

It calls on countries to "provide urgent assistance, including deployable medical capabilities such as field hospitals" with staff and supplies, laboratories, clinics and to provide "support capabilities for airlift."

The council will also ask organisations such as the African Union and the European Union to "mobilize immediately" to provide technician expertise and medical help.

The world body has set a goal of stopping the spread of Ebola within six to nine months but aid agencies are complaining that help is slow in reaching those in need.

Ban is planning a "high-level event" on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly that opens next week to draw attention to the crisis and the need for action.