The president of Liberia made an impassioned plea for support from President Obama's administration in dealing with the Ebola crisis that has overtaken life in the West African nation.
In a letter to Obama, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf asked for financial assistance in providing 1,500 beds in Ebola treatment units in Monrovia, the nation’s capital, and 10 additional sites in outlying areas.
“Mr. President, Liberia's peace and significant economic gains over the last 10 years have come at great cost,” President Sirleaf said in the letter.
“Throughout this process, the United States has been a steadfast friend a partner. As impressive as our gains have been, they remain fragile and this outbreak now threatens to undermine those gains and reverse our progress. In view of this, I am directly appealing to you and the American people.”
The needed 1,500 beds, she said, are “beyond anything we are able to address on our own. Unless we significantly increase our capacity to isolate infected persons — their families and communities remain vulnerable and the transmission chain remains unbroken.”
The Liberian president explained that with their own resources, Liberia can only support and manage 100 Ebola beds.
She explained that there are broad potential social and civil conflicts that could result from the Ebola crisis in Liberia.
“In a country that has barely emerged from a 30-year period of civil and political unrest, with the presence of a large youthful (mainly unemployed) population, some of whom were child soldiers — this health emergency threatens civil order,” Sirleaf’s letter stated.
“What is even more heartbreaking is that we are unable to reopen our basic and secondary health facilities because terrified health workers, who have watched colleagues die, are afraid to return to work.”
The World Health Organization announced that the death toll from Ebola has risen to nearly 2,300. The cases have been largely confined to Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
Follow Jonathan Hicks on Twitter: @HicksJonathan
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(Photo: AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
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