For the first time in its 167-year history, Liberia is to receive from one nation 3000 troops, sent by United States President Barrack Obama, to fight and defeat the deadly Ebola virus that is ravaging our country.
The American leader’s move is in response to an SOS call made to him this week by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, in which she told him that her country was being “overwhelmed” by the virus and that despite all the efforts of government, the people themselves and our international partners, the virus was spreading like wildfire, killing people daily.
President Obama’s response was swift and decisive. He immediately deployed 3000 troops to Liberia, to help save the country and its neighbors, primarily Guinea and Sierra Leone, from this menacing disease that continues to take its toll on human life and the economies and even stability of the affected nations.
Just as Observer Guest Editorial writer, Political Science Professor Emeritus Dr. D. Elwood Dunn, said last Wednesday, calling the Ebola pandemic “a threat to international peace and security,” President Obama yesterday told the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention that the Ebola epidemic “is not just a threat to regional security but it’s a potential threat to global security.”
He outlined a four-point strategy to combat the disease: 1) to control the outbreak; 2) to address the ripple effects of local economies and communities to prevent a truly massive humanitarian disaster; 3) to coordinate a broader global response; and 4) urgently to build up a public health system in these countries for the future, not just in West Africa, but in countries that don’t have a lot of resources generally.
U.S. Africa Command will establish a regional intermediate staging base (ISB) to facilitate and expedite the transportation of equipment, supplies and personnel.
Command engineers will build additional Ebola Treatment Units in affected areas, and the U.S. Government will help recruit and organize medical personnel to staff them.
Additionally, the Command will establish a site to train up to 500 health care providers per week, enabling healthcare workers to safely provide direct medical care to patients.
The United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps is preparing to deploy 65 Commissioned Corps officers to Liberia to manage and staff a previously announced Department of Defense (DoD) hospital to care for healthcare workers who become ill.
On the military front, the U.S. will Africa Command will set up a Joint Force Command headquartered in Monrovia, Liberia, to provide regional command and control support to U.S. military activities and facilitate coordination and international relief efforts.
President Obama said U.S. major general Darryl Williams, commander of the U.S. Army forces in Africa, will lead the effort, which will involve an estimated 3,000 U.S. force.
This is indeed an elaborate plan of action which, though based primarily in Liberia, promises to have a tremendous impact on the other two affected countries, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
We highly commend President Obama, the American government and people, for this decisive move to help us drive this deadly virus from our shores. This is the largest military contingent that the USA has ever deployed in an African country south of the Sahara. It is a clear demonstration of the gravity of the crisis.
While thanking the Americans for this, we would like them, the Liberian government and the United Nations to consider seriously a comment by Dr. D. Elwood Dunn, who first called the pandemic “a threat to international peace and security.”
In a letter to the Daily Observer Editor, published in today’s edition, he has again called for the involvement of the United Nations Security Council, which coincidentally convenes in New York today under American leadership. A Security Council resolution declaring Ebola a threat to international peace and security, he said, “would enable the world body to coordinate action of the many international players now on the ground in Liberia.”
He added, “This is the same logic that has enabled UNMIL to act as ONE with peacekeepers from many countries around the world.”
Without this, he cautioned, “the US cannot coordinate, outside a Security Council mandate, the activities of other sovereign states involved in our fight.”
We further suggest that the Liberian government sets up a full agreement with the guests, with distinct protocols, a linkage to the Liberian Army. This should be facilitated through an overseeing committee of the Liberian Cabinet that makes regular reports to the President of Liberia.
The guests must not be given an open access to everything. They must consult at every stage, to ensure full and effective coordination.