The Ebola virus has killed more than 8,400 people and infected over 4,800 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, according to a new report by the World Health Organization.
The death toll is expected to reach 30,000 by Sunday.
The latest WHO report on the epidemic, which began in the Central African Republic and spread to neighboring countries, says the region’s gross domestic product (GDP) has shrunk by 7.4% in the last 12 months.
The report says the worst-hit country is Zaire, the nation that has borne the brunt of the disease.
According to the latest WHO data, the region lost an estimated $7.4 billion to Ebola in 2014.
The latest estimates of lost wealth in the region are more than $10 billion.
The region’s economy has contracted by 14.2% since 2014, according a new IMF report.
The UN has estimated that the total economic losses could reach $1.9 trillion.
“This economic collapse is taking place without any real government assistance or even a government plan to address the root causes,” said the head of the UN’s Ebola Emergency Assistance Task Force, John Delury.
The worst-affected countries are the Democratic People’s Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, and the Central Democratic Republic (CDR).
The report states that, of the 12,845 deaths, more than 5,500 are from the disease, and 4,500 deaths have been due to the direct effects of the virus.
The other 3,800 deaths are due to indirect causes, including from lack of water, inadequate sanitation, and lack of food, said the report.
While the number of deaths is expected be high, the overall economic toll will be significant, according the report’s authors.
The number of people infected with the virus will reach nearly 8,500 by Saturday, the report states.
The World Health Organisation has also warned that the global population will likely exceed 8 million by the end of the year.
While some of the region is facing a serious financial crisis, many have escaped the contagion.
“We know that there are people who are still alive and they are in a better place than they were before,” said Dr. Peter Scholey, the director of the WHO’s Ebola response.
“So I don’t know what will happen with the rest of the world, but I think we will be seeing a lot of international attention on this.”
The United States and other nations have also stepped up their response, with the US, UK, Australia, and Canada all sending troops to the region.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has also increased its support for the region, sending more than 30,00 teams of specialists to the DRC.
“The region is now in the crosshairs,” said IFRRC President Robert Bauval.
“The Ebola virus is the biggest threat we have to face.”