IMF 'ready to do more' for Guinea, hard-hit by Ebola: Lagarde

International Monetary Fund Director Christine Lagarde has promised Guinea, one of the West African nations hard-hit by Ebola, that the organisation is "ready to do more if needed". -- PHOTO: REUTERS
International Monetary Fund Director Christine Lagarde has promised Guinea, one of the West African nations hard-hit by Ebola, that the organisation is "ready to do more if needed". -- PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - International Monetary Fund Director Christine Lagarde has promised Guinea, one of the West African nations hard-hit by Ebola, that the organisation is "ready to do more if needed."

She said this on Friday after a meeting with the president of Guinea Alpha Conde.

The Ebola virus, which emerged in Guinea at the start of the year, has infected around 1,300 Guineans, killing 768 of them.

Global aid agency Medecins Sans Frontieres, said on Thursday that a surge of Ebola cases in Guinea had pushed its treatment unit in the capital Conakry near saturation point.

"Beyond the loss of life and social dislocation, it is threatening to reverse the advances made by these countries in recent years in economic development and poverty reduction," Lagarde said in a statement following a meeting with President Alpha Conde.

"We have already provided US$41 million (S$52 million) to Guinea on an emergency basis. We are ready to do more if needed," she said.

The IMF fast-tracked US$130 million (102.5 million euros) in aid two weeks ago to fight the Ebola epidemic after the governments of the worst-hit countries in West Africa said they were desperately counting on promises of global aid to be backed up with cash.

The IMF financing included US$41 million for Guinea, US$49 million for Liberia, and US$40 million for Sierra Leone.

The World Health Organisation said 4,033 people have died from Ebola as of Oct 8 out of a total of 8,399 registered cases in seven countries.

The sharp rise in deaths came as the UN said aid pledges to fight the outbreak have fallen well short of the US$1 billion needed.