Liberian leader say Ebola risks 'lost generation', urges action

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Liberian leader say Ebola risks 'lost generation', urges action
A man pushes a wheelbarrow containing a woman thought to be a victim of the Ebola virus at the Ebola treatment centre at Island hospital in Monrovia on October 2, 2014. Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said Wednesday the Ebola outbreak that has devastated her country was showing signs of stabilising as the official death toll rose again.. AFP PHOTO / PASCAL GUYOT (Photo credit should read PASCAL GUYOT/AFP/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - OCTOBER 04: Eric Williams (C) , a U.S. Congressional candidate, Steve Oriabure (L), from the Organization of Nigerian Nationals, and Shadiya Abdi speak to the media outside the Ivy Apartment complex where the confirmed Ebola virus patient was staying on October 4, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. They spoke to the media on their concerns about how the Ebola case is affecting the community. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
A man leaves a wheelbarrow containuing a woman thought to be a victim of the Ebola virus at the Ebola treatment centre at Island hospital in Monrovia on October 2, 2014. Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said Wednesday the Ebola outbreak that has devastated her country was showing signs of stabilising as the official death toll rose again.. AFP PHOTO / PASCAL GUYOT (Photo credit should read PASCAL GUYOT/AFP/Getty Images)
A man pushes a wheelbarrow containing a woman thought to be a victim of the Ebola virus at the Ebola treatment centre at Island hospital in Monrovia on October 2, 2014. Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said Wednesday the Ebola outbreak that has devastated her country was showing signs of stabilising as the official death toll rose again.. AFP PHOTO / PASCAL GUYOT (Photo credit should read PASCAL GUYOT/AFP/Getty Images)
A man pushes a wheelbarrow containing a woman thought to be a victim of the Ebola virus, follwed by her relatives at the Ebola treatment centre at Island hospital in Monrovia on October 2, 2014. Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said Wednesday the Ebola outbreak that has devastated her country was showing signs of stabilising as the official death toll rose again.. AFP PHOTO / PASCAL GUYOT (Photo credit should read PASCAL GUYOT/AFP/Getty Images)
A man pushes a wheelbarrow containing a woman thought to be a victim of the Ebola virus at the Ebola treatment centre at Island hospital in Monrovia on October 2, 2014. Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said Wednesday the Ebola outbreak that has devastated her country was showing signs of stabilising as the official death toll rose again.. AFP PHOTO / PASCAL GUYOT (Photo credit should read PASCAL GUYOT/AFP/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - OCTOBER 02: A woman delivers bottled water and toilet paper to residents in a unit at the Ivy Apartments, where the confirmed Ebola virus patient was staying, on October 2, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. The first confirmed Ebola virus patient in the United States was staying with family members at The Ivy Apartment complex before being treated at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. State and local officials are working with federal officials to monitor other individuals that had contact with the confirmed patient. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Thomas Duncan carries a woman HRS before she dies from #Ebola, then travels to TX. @CDCgov team now in Dallas. @AMHQ http://t.co/udwtA0eiGH
DALLAS, TX - OCTOBER 01: Texas Govenor Rick Perry answers questions related to the first confirmed case of the Ebola virus at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas on October 1, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. State and local officials are working with federal officials to monitor other individuals that had contact with the confirmed patient. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: A general view of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas where a patient has been diagnosed with the Ebola virus on September 30, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. The patient who had recently traveled to Dallas from Liberia marks the first case of this strain of Ebola that has been diagnosed outside of West Africa. (Photo by Mike Stone/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: Dr. Edward Goodman, epidemiologist at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, answers questions during a media conference at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas where a patient has been diagnosed with the Ebola virus on September 30, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Mike Stone/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: Dr. Edward Goodman, epidemiologist at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, and Dr. Mark Lester, Southeast Zone clinical leader for Texas Health Resources, answer questions during a media conference at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas where a patient has been diagnosed with the Ebola virus on September 30, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Mike Stone/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: Dr. Edward Goodman, epidemiologist at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, and Dr. Mark Lester, Southeast Zone clinical leader for Texas Health Resources, answer questions during a media conference at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas where a patient has been diagnosed with the Ebola virus on September 30, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Mike Stone/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: A general view of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas where a patient has been diagnosed with the Ebola virus on September 30, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. The patient who had recently traveled to Dallas from Liberia marks the first case of this strain of Ebola that has been diagnosed outside of West Africa. (Photo by Mike Stone/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: Traffic moves past Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas where a patient has been diagnosed with the Ebola virus on September 30, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. The patient who had recently traveled to Dallas from Liberia marks the first case of this strain of Ebola that has been diagnosed outside of West Africa. (Photo by Mike Stone/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: Traffic moves past Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas where a patient has been diagnosed with the Ebola virus on September 30, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. The patient who had recently traveled to Dallas from Liberia marks the first case of this strain of Ebola that has been diagnosed outside of West Africa. (Photo by Mike Stone/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: Dr. Edward Goodman, epidemiologist at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, and Dr. Mark Lester, Southeast Zone clinical leader for Texas Health Resources, answer questions during a media conference at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas where a patient has been diagnosed with the Ebola virus on September 30, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Mike Stone/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: Dr. Edward Goodman, epidemiologist at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, answers questions during a media conference at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas where a patient has been diagnosed with the Ebola virus on September 30, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. The patient who had recently traveled to Dallas from Liberia marks the first case of this strain of Ebola that has been diagnosed outside of West Africa. (Photo by Mike Stone/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: A general view of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas where a patient has been diagnosed with the Ebola virus on September 30, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. The patient who had recently traveled to Dallas from Liberia marks the first case of this strain of Ebola that has been diagnosed outside of West Africa. (Photo by Mike Stone/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: Dr. Edward Goodman, epidemiologist at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, and Dr. Mark Lester, Southeast Zone clinical leader for Texas Health Resources, answer questions during a media conference at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas where a patient has been diagnosed with the Ebola virus on September 30, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Mike Stone/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: Traffic moves past Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas where a patient has been diagnosed with the Ebola virus on September 30, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. The patient who had recently traveled to Dallas from Liberia marks the first case of this strain of Ebola that has been diagnosed outside of West Africa. (Photo by Mike Stone/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: Traffic moves past Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas where a patient has been diagnosed with the Ebola virus on September 30, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. The patient who had recently traveled to Dallas from Liberia marks the first case of this strain of Ebola that has been diagnosed outside of West Africa. (Photo by Mike Stone/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: A general view of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas where a patient has been diagnosed with the Ebola virus on September 30, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. The patient who had recently traveled to Dallas from Liberia marks the first case of this strain of Ebola that has been diagnosed outside of West Africa. (Photo by Mike Stone/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: A medical transport van moves past Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas where a patient has been diagnosed with the Ebola virus on September 30, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. The patient who had recently traveled to Dallas from Liberia marks the first case of this strain of Ebola that has been diagnosed outside of West Africa. (Photo by Mike Stone/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: Dr. Edward Goodman, epidemiologist at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, explains the precautions taken to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus during a media conference at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas where a patient has been diagnosed with the disease on September 30, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Mike Stone/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: Dr. Edward Goodman, epidemiologist at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, explains the precautions taken to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus during a media conference at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas where a patient has been diagnosed with the disease on September 30, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Mike Stone/Getty Images)
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Oct 19 (Reuters) - The Ebola outbreak in West Africa risks unleashing an economic catastrophe that will leave a "lost generation" of young West Africans, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said on Sunday, urging stronger international action.

The worst epidemic on record of the deadly virus has now killed more than 4,500 people in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Eight people have also died in Nigeria and cases have been reported in the United States and Spain.

Johnson Sirleaf said the international reaction to the outbreak, detected in March deep in the forests of southern Guinea, was initially "inconsistent and lacking in clear direction or urgency".

She said the international community had woken up to the global health risk posed by the epidemic but called for help from every nation with the capacity to do so, either in funding or medical staff and supplies.

"We all have a stake in the battle against Ebola," she said in an open letter read on the BBC World Service.

"It is the duty of all of us, as global citizens, to send a message that we will not leave millions of West Africans to fend for themselves against an enemy that they do not know, and against whom they have little defence."

Johnson Sirleaf, a former senior World Bank executive, said Ebola was having a dire economic impact in the worst affected countries, with harvests missed, markets shut and borders closed. She said the outbreak had undone much of the recovery achieved in the wake of Liberia's 1989-2003 civil war.

"Ebola is not just a health crisis - across West Africa, a generation of young people risk being lost to an economic catastrophe," she said. "The time for talking or theorizing is over. Only concerted action will save my country, and our neighbours, from experiencing another national tragedy."

Concern over the spread of Ebola in the United States -- where two nurses contracted the disease after treating a sick Liberian man -- has buffeted financial markets in recent days. President Barack Obama has appealed for Americans not to give in to hysteria or fear.

A former Nobel peace prize winner for her work on women's rights, Johnson Sirleaf said the whole world had a stake in fighting the virus.

"This disease respects no borders. It is the duty of all of us, as global citizens, to send a message that we will not leave millions of West Africans to fend for themselves against an enemy that they do not know, and against whom they have little defence." (; editing byMark Heinrich)

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