Obama Sends 3,000 Soldiers to Battle Ebola; UN Seeks $1 Billion

Liberian nurses carry the body of an Ebola victim in the Banjor Community on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia, August 6, 2014. (Photo by Ahmed Jallanzo / EPA)


NEW YORK, New York, September 16, 2014 – The United Nations announced today that it would need nearly $1 billion for an exceptional, international response to Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon declared, “Every day we delay, the cost and the suffering will grow exponentially.”

“This is not just a health crisis; it has grave humanitarian, economic and social consequences that could spread far beyond the affected countries,” the secretary-general said at a press conference at UN Headquarters to outline the priorities of the new session of General Assembly.

Valerie Amos,  center, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator; with Bruce Aylward, left, assistant director-general for polio, emergencies and country collaboration, World Health Organization; David Nabarro, right, UN System senior coordinator for Ebola, during the press conference,  September 16, 2014. (Photo by Jean-Marc Ferré courtesy UN)

Hours earlier in Geneva, Dr. David Nabarro of the UK, United Nations system senior coordinator for Ebola, Valerie Amos of the USA, UN emergency relief coordinator, and Bruce Aylward of Canada, assistant director-general for polio, emergencies and country collaboration for the UN World Health Organization (WHO), presented the Overview of Needs and Requirements document.

The needs total $987.8 million, most to cover activities in the three most-affected countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone for six months.

“It’s clear that if not dealt with effectively now, Ebola could become a major humanitarian crisis in countries currently affected,” said Amos.

“These countries were building their economies and institutions. Now their capacity to deliver the necessities of daily life for their people is on the brink of collapse. The Ebola outbreak poses a serious threat to their post-conflict recovery…We must act now, if we want to avoid greater humanitarian consequences in future”.

WHO, in its most recent update released today, reported a total of 4,963 cases and 2,453 deaths attributable to Ebola in those three countries. In addition, in Nigeria, there have been 21 cases and eight deaths, and in Senegal, there has been one case, but no deaths.

At a press conference in Geneva, Dr. Nabarro said the Ebola crisis “requires an exceptional, international response to address both the health crisis and the broader societal, economic and political threats to the countries affected.”

Amos said “Ebola is a public health emergency. But it is much more than that.”

WHO’s Aylward added, “The WHO Ebola Response Roadmap, launched at the end of August, sets out what we have to do to stop Ebola. But it will take more than a plan to finish Ebola. The strong commitment made by our UN partners and Member States is what is needed to beat this virus. And real engagement by world leaders will make the difference.”

Red Cross recruits in Sierra Leone bury Ebola casualties, August, 2014 (Photo by Slpp Spaingroup)

At UN headquarters, the Un Secretary-General said that there will be a special focus on the Ebola during the upcoming session of the General Assembly.

Secretary-General Ban also said that on Thursday, the Security Council will convene an emergency meeting on the outbreak, and he and WHO Director General Margaret Chan will outline the international action plan to contain this threat.

In addition, he said, next week, the General Assembly will follow-up with a High-Level Meeting on the needs of the people and countries affected by Ebola.

“Generous contributions are being announced each day, but we have a lot of catching up to do to provide the health services, food, water, sanitation and supplies that are needed,” the UN Secretary-General said.

WHO today welcomed the commitment from China to dispatch a mobile laboratory team to Sierra Leone to enhance the laboratory testing capacity for Ebola virus disease in the country. In addition to lab experts, the 59-person team from the Chinese Centre for Disease Control will include epidemiologists, clinicians and nurses.

The Obama Administration today said it would activate more than 3,000 military personnel and more than $600 million, in addition to the $175 million already committed to contain and combat Ebola.

Under the command of a general from the U.S. Africa Command the 3,000 U.S. troops will be sent to establish a Joint Force Command headquartered in Monrovia, Liberia. They will provide regional command and control support to U.S. military activities to fight Ebola and facilitate U.S. government and international relief efforts.

Liberian nurses carry the body of an Ebola victim in the Banjor Community on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia, August 6, 2014. (Photo by Ahmed Jallanzo / EPA)

U.S. Army engineers will build additional Ebola Treatment Units in affected areas, and the U.S. government will help recruit and organize medical personnel to staff them.

The U.S. Africa Command will establish a site to train up to 500 health care providers per week, enabling healthcare workers to safely provide direct medical care to patients.

The U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps will deploy 65 Commissioned Corps officers to Liberia to manage and staff a previously announced Department of Defense (DoD) hospital to care for healthcare workers who become ill.

DoD plans to send a field-deployable hospital to Liberia and has provided more than 10,000 Ebola test kits to the Liberian Institute of Biological Research and to Sierra Leone’s Kenema Government Hospital. DoD also has provided personal protective equipment and training to local medical professionals in affected regions.

DoD has requested to reprogram $500 million in Fiscal Year 2014 Overseas Contingency Operations funds for humanitarian assistance to fulfill requirements identified by the Centers for Disease Control, USAID, the Joint Staff, and U.S. Africa Command. The funds will pay for for military air transportation of personnel and supplies; medical treatment isolation units, personnel protective equipment and medical supplies; logistics and engineering support, and experts in support of sanitation and mortuary affairs.

DoD’s Cooperative Threat Reduction program is redirecting $25 million to provide personal protective equipment and laboratory reagents and support fortechnical advisors. DoD has also requested to reprogram an additional $60 million to address urgent biosafety, biosecurity, and biosurveillance needs in the three countries most affected by the Ebola outbreak, and bolster the capabilities of neighboring countries and other partners in Africa.

USAID is supporting a Community Care Campaign to provide communities and households with protection kits, appropriate information and training on how to protect themselves and their loved ones. In partnership with the UN Children Fund, the Paul Allen Family Foundation, and other partners, this campaign will immediately target the 400,000 most vulnerable households in Liberia, later it will cover the country and the broader region.

This week, USAID will airlift 50,000 home health care kits from Denmark to Liberia to be hand-delivered to distant communities by trained youth volunteers.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health is developing an investigational Ebola vaccine with clinical trials. The Administration has asked Congress for an additional $58 million to support the development and manufacturing of Ebola therapeutic and vaccine candidates through Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2014. All rights reserved.


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