The United States Army Engineers have been working very hard since their arrival several weeks ago as part of a 4000-strong military contingent deployed to help us fight Ebola.
Our young reporter Alvin Worzi said in a report on Monday that the U.S. Army Engineers at the weekend completed and opened their third ETU. The first was completed a little over a week ago in Bomi, where they praised the Liberian Army’s Engineering Battalion, who built the first one in Tubmanburg to the satisfaction of their American colleagues.
A second ETU was completed in Sinje, Grand Cape Mount County; and now the third in Buchanan, Grand Bassa. The American Army Engineers plan to build a total of 17 ETUs across the country.
According to Major General Gary Volesky, Commander of the 101st Airborne Division, the Grand Bassa ETU was the first to be built completely by the U.S. Army Engineers.
Our Nimba Correspondent Ishmael Menkor yesterday reported three pieces of good news from Ganta. The first was that the American military contingent sent by President Obama to help us fight Ebola had recently paid several visits to Ganta, and that a large area near the Ganta United Methodist Hospital is now being cleared for the building of another ETU there.
The second piece of good news is that 50 persons quarantined in Ganta had been released!
The third piece of good news is that in Ganta, which not long ago was the epi-center of the Ebola virus, yes, in this same Ganta, there are no more new cases!
What do we think is responsible for all this good news? It is mainly one thing: The people of Ganta have gotten the message and are behaving themselves. They are obeying all the rules and making sure that the sick are immediately reported. That is why we could find 50 people quarantined at one time in one place. And thanks to their quick and timely reporting to the center, they have all been released!
As we said in this Monday’s Editorial, ALL OF US, THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY, must do likewise and demonstrate that while we are most grateful to President Obama and his troops for building all these ETUs across the country, the time will soon come when we would not need them. This, we said in that Editorial, is how we can quickly begin successfully to rebuild our shattered economy and our shattered lives. We can definitely do it, as it must be done!
We understand that in response to the rapid progress we are making in the anti-Ebola fight, the Americans themselves may scale back their numbers on the ground, from 4000 to 3000. This is good news, BUT …
And this is indeed a BIG BUT: We trust that the Americans will do three things more: first, join their Liberian counterparts–the Armed Forces of Liberia–in ensuring that the country is safe and secure from anymore cross-border transmissions of the virus. We have in several recent Editorials shown how this can be done. We need a strong and well prepared military presence at the borders to intercept (stop) any further transmissions. We should never forget that it was one such transmission that crossed the Foya border with Guinea and spread the virus like wildfire in Liberia.
President Sirleaf, Defense Minister Samukai, it only takes one! We should, therefore, do everything in our power to prevent it from happening again!
Second, we trust that the Engineering Battalion will share their experience and expertise with the AFL Engineering Battalion, so as further to empower our men in arms to crisscross the country doing engineering good–helping build farm-to-market roads, maintaining and repairing highways, maintaining public buildings and assisting in everything that a good engineer does to improve people’s lives–including digging wells and boreholes to provide safe drinking water for the people.
Thirdly, we pray that our American partners, the American troops and their government–indeed all our partners, the Chinese who first made the offer, and everyone else included–after helping us defeat Ebola, will as soon as possible embark on the rebuilding of our healthcare delivery system.
We, however, submit that the Liberian government should first come up with a roadmap showing what it wants to do and how it should be done.
This is a matter for Thursday’s Editorial.