NEW YORK (AFP) - U2 frontman Bono and Oscar winner Ben Affleck led an appeal on Wednesday for the world to step up its fight against Ebola, releasing a video in deliberate silence to decry early inaction on the crisis.
Actors Affleck, Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman were among the global music and Hollywood celebrities in the completely silent video where each stare into the camera - in the space between them the word "waiting" appears on the screen.
"We waited too long to react," says the written message. "Talk is cheap. It's time for action." The video appears at www.one.org/ebola, which features a tracker that will measure whether countries meet their promises to fight the epidemic.
Prominent African musicians are also part of the appeal - Benin-born international star Angelique Kidjo, Nigerian Afrobeat giant Femi Kuti, singing and dancing star Fally Ipupa from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Nigerian rapper Ice Prince.
Kidjo said that West Africa, where virtually all of the 14,500 Ebola cases have been reported, had been ill-equipped to deal with the outbreak.
"We need our friends around the world to come forward with all the help they can right now, so patients can be treated in a dignified way, and we can end this nightmare," Kidjo said in a statement.
"Then we need to work together to rebuild and strengthen West Africa's heath-care systems to stop another crisis like this from happening again," she said.
The appeal comes days after British and Irish artists including One Direction, Bono and Chris Martin recorded a song for Ebola relief in the latest Band Aid initiative by Bob Geldof.
Michael Elliott, president and chief executive of One, the anti-poverty campaign backed by Bono that spearheaded the silent video, said that while many viewers would be familiar with Ebola, the group wanted to build support for longer-term solutions.
"We can't wait in the future in the same way," he told Agence France-Presse.
"We have to have the investment and the resources in place, we have to build up the health-care system in vulnerable societies, we have to have the skilled labour available, so that crises like this - which kill thousands of people and threaten millions - don't happen again."
Congolese star Ipupa, whose country recently declared itself free of Ebola, said that African nations also had a greater role to play in the crisis.
"All African countries can do more, starting with sending more resources to health care workers in the affected countries," he said.