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Ebola Is Spreading Because We Don't Care About Poor People, Says Bob Geldof

16/10/2014 10:14 BST | Updated 16/10/2014 10:59 BST

Sir Bob Geldof has hit out at the drastic gulf in resources, wealth and medical capabilities when it comes to tackling Ebola in west Africa and in the West, declaring that almost 9,000 people have "died because they are poor."

Speaking at the One Young World summit in Dublin, Geldof said that it "could not stand" that westerners who contract the disease had far better care and access to potential cures than west Africans left to die in the streets.

“What are we doing about Sierra Leone?" he asked the 1,300 delegates. "A country just beginning to breathe and because they are poor they die, like back in the ‘80s when myself and a bunch of others got together and talked about what was happening in Africa. "

one young world

Ebola is spreading because people are poor, said Geldof

“They were not dying of hunger, they were dying because they had no money," he said, referring to the famine in Ethiopia which first sparked his fundraising drive that would become LiveAid.

"They are not dying of this filthy little virus in west Africa, they are dying because unlike in Madrid and Texas they do not have the doctors and nurses and Medicare.

"They are dying because they are poor. That cannot stand."

Geldof's speech opened the three-day conference which is set to hear from numerous world leaders on the subject of social change. Young people from more than 180 countries are attending the discussions.

Earlier, the campaigner had told ITV News he was in despair at the might of the epidemic, which the WHO said could see new cases of 5,000-10,000 a week by early December.

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"They are dying of poverty again. And we paid no interest. Why? Because we really don't pay much interest in the poor," he said, adding that Western action on Ebola was only now happening to "protect ourselves".

British Army medics are due to arrive in Sierra Leone today to help in the fight against Ebola by operating a treatment centre specifically for healthcare workers.

Ninety-one people, including nurses, doctors and infectious disease consultants, will join 40 soldiers already in the west African country to work at the facility, which has 12 of its 92 beds set aside for those helping to treat others with the deadly disease .

Yesterday Ebola survivor and volunteer nurse Will Pooley said he is preparing to go back to west Africa to help deal with the epidemic because it is "something I need to do".

The 29-year-old, from Eyke in Suffolk, said he knows that his family and friends will be worried but stressed that there was an urgent need for strong medical support to tackle the virus.