7 August 2014

West Africa: Obama - America Will Ensure Ebola Is Contained in Liberia and West Africa

Photo: Boakai Fofana/AllAfrica
Women volunteers pray against Ebola while distributing fliers to passersby and asking them to wash their hands.

United States President Barrack Obama has reaffirmed his country's commitment to stand by Liberia and the West African region in the fight against the deadly Ebola virus disease.

Speaking with Vice President Joseph Boakai Tuesday night at a White House dinner with African leaders attending the US - Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, DC, President Obama promised that the US will provide technical, material and financial support to help eradicate Ebola from Liberia and the sub-region.

According to a dispatch from Washington DC, the U.S. President also re-emphasized the commitment of his government to support the fight against Ebola epidemic now plaguing the sub-region when he addressed the formal opening of the US - Africa Leaders Summit on Wednesday at the State Department, the venue of the Summit.

"I deeply regret the absence of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia and President Ernest BaiKoroma of Sierra Leone due to the outbreak of Ebola in their countries. America will do everything in its power to ensure that the virus is contained in Liberia and West Africa," President Obama assured.

He also thanked leaders of the African continent for attending the summit and pledged to aid the continent's growth and development, committing U.S. assistance.

Responding at the White House dinner on Tuesday, Vice President Boakai thanked the Government and people of the United States for its support to Liberia and apprised Mr. Obama of the steps the Liberian Government has taken to curb the spread of the Ebola virus in the country.

He said the Ebola outbreak is overwhelming the limited health systems and resources of the country, but emphasized that the Liberian people are determined to restrain and curtail the spread of the disease.

Vice President Boakai is in the US leading the Liberian Government's delegation at President Obama's US - Africa Leaders Summit.

Meanwhile, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced that it will be deploying a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to West Africa to coordinate the U.S. Government's response to the Ebola outbreak, which has so far sickened more than 1,600 people, including nearly 900 who have died from the disease.

According to information circulated to delegates attending the US - Africa Leaders Summit, USAID announced an additional US$5 million in assistance to help ramp up the international community's Ebola response efforts.

Specifically, this funding will go towards the expansion of Ebola outbreak programs the Agency is already supporting in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.

These programs will help trace people who may be infected with the disease, as well as provide health clinics and households with hygiene kits, soap, bleach, gloves, masks, and other supplies to help prevent the spread of disease.

Vice President Boakai and delegation will this evening meet Liberians in the Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C. areas at a Town Hall Meeting scheduled at 5:30 pm eastern time at the Trinity Episcopal Church on Piney Branch Road in Washington.

He is also expected to speak to Liberia across the United States when he appears as a Special Guest on a popular online radio program hosted by the Liberia Destiny Debaters based in the US.

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