Liberia says world needs to do more on Ebola

President Sirleaf welcomes US aid but warns Liberia needs more help as worst outbreak in history cripples the country.

It is unclear when all of the personnel and equipment promised by Barack Obama will arrive [EPA]

Liberia’s president has called on the world to do more to end a spiralling Ebola outbreak that has crippled her country.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Wednesday described US President Barack Obama’s commitment to ramp up efforts against the virus as “significant”, but said she hoped it would only be the beginning.

“This disease is not simply a Liberian or West African problem. The entire community of nations has a stake in ending this crisis.’

“We hope this decision by the United States will spur the rest of the international community into action,” Sirleaf said in a written statement read out by the Information Minister Lewis Brown at a press conference.

Obama announced on Tuesday that as part of a $500m plan he would order 3,000 military personnel to West Africa to help contain the dreaded disease, which has killed at least 2,400 people.

The US is also planning on delivering 17 treatment centres with 100 beds each to Liberia, which has been hardest hit by the outbreak.

Worst-ever outbreak

An Ebola outbreak in West Africa has also touched Guinea, Sierra Leone, Senegal and Nigeria, and is believed to have infected nearly 5,000 people.  

It is the largest Ebola outbreak so far, and public health experts have said the three hardest hit countries – Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea – are desperately short of everything needed to contain it, from health workers to the hazard suits needed to protect them.

Inside Story: Confronting Ebola

In recent weeks, promises of aid have ramped up significantly, and Sirleaf praised Obama’s commitment, which is among the biggest from any single country.

But even as she welcomed the aid, Sirleaf noted that the plans had to be formalised.

American officials expect to have the first treatment centres open in a few weeks, and it is unclear when all of the personnel and equipment will be on the ground.

On Wednesday, Doctors without Borders said that a French volunteer working for the charity group had contracted the Ebola virus.

The volunteer, the first French national to catch the disease in the current outbreak, was put in quarantine on September 16 when the first symptoms of the illness appeared.  

She will be evacuated to a specialised treatment centre in France, the group said. 

Public health officials have warned that the window is closing to stamp out the outbreak and that promises must be converted into action quickly.

Australia announced on Wednesday that it is providing another $6.4m to the fight. The UN has estimated it will cost $1bn to contain Ebola.

Germany is also considering providing a mobile hospital to Liberia and may also send transport planes to help with logistics.

Source: News Agencies