UN asks $1 billion for Ebola, gets $100,000

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — An alarmed United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in late September asked nations around the world to quickly help raise $1 billion to fight the deadly virus Ebola.

As of Friday, only $100,000 has come in — from Colombia.

Other countries have pledged a total of $20 million for the special fund that Ban set up.

“We need to turn pledges into action,” Ban told reporters. “We need more doctors, nurses, equipment, treatment centers.”

Thousands of people in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea have been stricken with Ebola. The World Health Organization estimates the virus has killed 4,493 people in seven countries.

The slow response to Ban’s appeal showcases the gap between what aid organizations say they need to fight Ebola and what donors have provided.

Corporate donors have been slow to respond as well.

As of this week, companies have pledged nearly $19 million in cash and “in kind” contributions to support Ebola relief, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

While that may seem comparable to the U.N.’s pledges, it’s still relatively small compared with the business response to natural disasters in past years.

After the 2010 Haiti earthquake, companies donated cash and other resources worth $148 million. And when an earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan, companies provided $298 million to help with relief.

Even companies with close ties to West Africa have provided relatively little support. The World Cocoa Foundation, a non-profit that helps cocoa farmers, had received roughly $700,000 from its members, which include global chocolate makers such as Nestle, Mars Chocolate and Hershey.

West Africa produces 70% of the world’s cocoa supply.

The largest contributions so far have come from wealthy individuals and philanthropies founded by wealthy individuals.

Earlier this week, Facebook CEO Zuckerberg said he was making $25 million grant for public health organizations that are working to contain Ebola. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the charity funded by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, pledged $50 million to the cause last month.

At the U.N., India has pledged $10 million, and Australia has agreed to give more than $8 million for the Ebola fund. Chile, Estonia and Romania have also made commitments.

Overall, governments have donated some $376 million to other U.N. agencies involved the response to Ebola, which translates to about 38% of what the global organization needs to meet its funding goals, according to a U.N. spokesman.

By Ben Rooney