Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Liberian president appeals to Obama for help to beat Ebola

14 September 2014, 06:44

Dakar - Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has appealed to U.S. President Barack Obama for urgent aid in tackling the worst recorded outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus, saying that without it her country would lose the fight against the disease.

The outbreak, which was first discovered in March, has now killed more than 2,400 people.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the epidemic is spreading exponentially in Liberia, where more than half of the deaths have been recorded. It has said that thousands are at risk of contagion in the coming weeks.

Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has set up several treatment centres in the affected countries but has also repeatedly warned it has reached the limits of its capacity and appealed for foreign governments to intervene.

In a letter dated September 9 seen by Reuters, Johnson Sirleaf appealed to Obama to build and operate at least one Ebola treatment unit in the capital Monrovia, saying that U.S. civilian and military teams had experience in dealing with biological hazards.

With the Liberian government due to open a 100-bed treatment centre and MSF scaling up its Ebola facility in Monrovia to 400 beds, Johnson Sirleaf said there was still a shortfall of 1,000 beds in the capital as well as a need for 10 new centres in the rest of the country.

"Without more direct help from your government, we will lose this battle against Ebola," Johnson Sirleaf, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for her work on women's rights, wrote to Obama.

The U.S. government has committed around $100 million to tackle the outbreak by providing protective equipment for healthcare workers, food, water, medical and hygiene equipment.

The U.S. military said this week it would build a 25-bed field hospital in Liberia to care for infected health workers but it would hand this to Liberians to run.

On Friday, the U.S. Ambassador to Liberia Deborah Malac said Washington would train security forces in isolation operations, after a boy was shot dead last month when Liberian soldiers opened fire on a crowd protesting at a quarantine in a Monrovia neighbourhood.

Liberian officials have called the outbreak the greatest threat to national stability since a 1989-2003 civil war, which killed nearly 250,000 people. Many ordinary people in Liberia, a nation founded by descendants of freed American slaves, look for help to the United States.

Cuba on Friday announced that it would deploy 165 medical personnel to Sierra Leone next month, the largest contingent of foreign doctors and nurses committed so far.

Johnson Sirleaf said that Ebola treatment centres were full and were being forced to turn away the sick.

"We are sending them home where they are a risk to their families and the communities. I am being honest with you when I say that at this rate, we will never break the transmission chain and the virus will overwhelm us," she wrote.

"Only governments like yours have the resources and assets to deploy at the pace required to arrest the spread," Johnson Sirleaf wrote to Obama, a fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

In a country with large numbers of unemployed former child soldiers, Johnson Sirleaf said the outbreak threatened civil order. With healthcare workers staying away from work, after dozens of their colleagues contracted the virus, citizens were also dying of other, treatable illnesses, she said.

Johnson Sirleaf asked the United States to assist in restoring services in at least 10 non-Ebola hospitals. Liberia also asked for U.S. help in establishing an air bridge to transport personnel and equipment after all but two private airlines have cancelled their flights.

- Reuters

Tags liberia ebola

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...