There will be a "tsunami of illness" when coronavirus hits poorer countries, warns David Milliband

9 April 2020, 15:05 | Updated: 9 April 2020, 15:51

By Fiona Jones

Poorer parts of the world "face an absolute tsunami of illness without the facilities to deal with them," warns the former Foreign Secretary, sharing how he is helping less advanced countries.

The disease has hit hardest so far in advanced industrialised countries and has not hit the poorest parts of the world, David Miliband said.

He is spearheading the International Rescue Committee which aids less advanced countries during the pandemic.

Sierra Leone has 13 ventilators for the population of 8 million people and Central African Republic has three ventilators for a population of 5 million people, he revealed.

In war-torn Syria, 85 of the health centres in the north west have been bombed in the last three months.

"These parts of the world face an absolute tsunami of illness without the facilities to deal with them," he said, telling Shelagh the world has a small window of opportunity, three or four weeks, before the disease runs rampant.

CEO of International Rescue Committee David Miliband warns there will be a "tsunami of illness" in poorer countries
CEO of International Rescue Committee David Miliband warns there will be a "tsunami of illness" in poorer countries. Picture: PA

"If the disease takes root and if it runs rampant, the scope is for absolute carnage," Mr Miliband said, and even though it is important to protect the home front, "we've got to recognise that this disease is global and we'll only all be safe until everyone's safe. That's why it's a global campaign."

The former Foreign Secretary urged for us to mobilise and help poorer countries as three billion people around the world, 40% of the world's population, have no hand washing facilities in their own home.

His aim is to support countries, including providing basic communal hand-washing facilities and suggesting poorer countries test people for fevers then separate them.

"I don't want to sound like this is going to be easy, but there are some straight-forward things that are worth doing...remember this disease will only be conquered for any of us if it's conquered for all of us."

Shelagh surmised that soap, water and separation gives you a chance of not contracting the virus.

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