‘We Are not Planning to Evacuate Our Citizens’


United States Ambassador accredited near Monrovia, Deborah Malac, has said that the US government does not intend to evacuate its citizens from the country as is being speculated in the media. Instead, she said, her government is rather navigating means through which it can help the Liberian government battle the Ebola epidemic that is killing people daily.

Ambassador Malac gave this assurance Tuesday, July 29, during the second meeting of the National Ebola Task Force, chaired by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who was also in the meeting.

“I want to dispel the rumors that we preparing to evacuate our citizens from Liberia. It’s not true. We will continue to follow the reports from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC), on this matter,” she said.

As the biggest outbreak ever of the Ebola virus ravages Liberia, Guniea and Sierra Leone, there have been widespread fears and jitters in many quarters of the Liberian public that the United States might evacuate its citizens and embassy staff from the country after two of its citizens fell prey to the deadly virus. Should this happen, many said, it could be a signal that the situation has gone out of hand or become uncontrollable.

These fears were further enhanced when the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia, Monday, July 28, sent out a “Security Message for U.S. Citizens.” The message contained a major update on the Ebola situation in the country and the region. This was followed by a scheduled mass meeting held yesterday for all US citizens residing in Liberia. 

Ambassador Malac took the opportunity at Tuesday's task force meeting to address the speculations and fears that had gripped the general public.

The US diplomat said her government was pleased to see that the Liberian government was working to tackle the disease with one concerted effort.

There are reports that the two US citizens, who were confirmed positive with the virus, are now in a critical condition.

Dr. Kent Brantly along with aid worker, Nancy Writebol, both of whom work for Samaritan Purse and Sudan Interior Mission (SIM), contracted the virus at the ELWA facility while attending to victims. The two Americans are currently quarantined and undergoing treatment.

SIM manages the ELWA Hospital, which it built in Paynesville in 1965.

According to Mail Online, a UK-based online news outlet, Dr. Brantly, is said to be in grave condition as he slips into the virus's dreaded grip.

Colleagues of Dr. Brantly, a Texas-trained doctor, spoke out Monday in praise of the young physician's dedication to helping heal Africa even in the terrifying face of virulent disease.

Brantly says he is 'terrified' of the disease progressing further, the outlet quoted Dr. David Mcray as having said.  He is director of maternal-child health at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, where Brantly completed a four-year residency.

Still, colleagues and family members said Brantly, 33, knew of the risks associated with working in one of the world's poorest countries during an epidemic and did not regret his choice.

"Kent prepared himself to be a lifetime medical missionary,' said his mother, Jan Brantly. 'His heart is in Africa.'

Brantly began a two-year fellowship with Samaritan's Purse last October to serve as a general practitioner, delivering babies and performing surgeries at a mission hospital, ELWA, in the Monrovia suburb of Paynesville.

When Ebola virus spread from Guinea into Liberia, Dr. Brantly and his wife, Amber, re-evaluated their commitment, but decided to stay in the country with their children, ages 3 and 5.

Dr. Brantly, who undertook humanitarian work while studying medicine at Indiana University, working in impoverished, inner-city neighborhoods, was the director of the hospital's Ebola clinic, wearing full-body protective gear in the Equatorial heat for upward of three hours at a time to treat patients.

“During his four-year family medicine residency, he accompanied Mcray on medical missions to Uganda and earthquake-devastated Haiti. He also spent several weeks working in Tanzania, where a cousin lives and works as a medical missionary, Mailonline quotes Dr. Mcray as saying.

Before contracting Ebola, Brantly and his family 'really enjoyed Liberia.' Despite his fears, Brantly said earlier Monday that he's got no regrets about going to Africa.

Kent Smith, an elder at the South Central Alliance Churches in Fort Worth, Texas, where Kent Brantly and his wife Amber worship, told MailOnline that the doctor has been frank with friends.

'God's going to deliver me from this but even if he doesn't I have lived my life for him and I have no regrets,' Dr. Brantly is quoted as having said.

Nancy Writebol, the second American to fall victim to the disease is a member of Charlotte’s Calvary Church and a missionary. Upon  learning Friday, July 25, that she had tested positive for the virus, she was immediately isolated and is receiving care.

Writebol’s husband, David, also a missionary in Liberia, was working as a hygienist, spraying protective suits worn by medical practitioners.


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