4?000 US troops geared for Ebola mission

2014-10-04 09:51

Washington – The US military expects to increase the number of troops deployed to Liberia to fight the Ebola outbreak to nearly 4?000, up from a planned 3000-strong force, the Pentagon said.

About 200 soldiers are already in Liberia setting up a headquarters for the US mission, which is aimed at training healthcare workers and setting up medical facilities for international aid teams.

President Barack Obama earlier this month announced that about 3?000 troops would eventually head to West Africa to help with efforts against the deadly virus.

But the Pentagon said officials were looking at ramping up the size of the force if necessary.

“We project that there could be nearly 4?000 troops deployed in support of this mission, but we’re obviously assessing the requirements on a daily basis. It may not go that high,” spokesperson Rear Admiral John Kirby told reporters.

He said an additional 1?800 US Army troops, including engineers, medical and aviation specialists, received orders to deploy to Africa in coming weeks.

This was in addition to 1?400 already headed to Monrovia this month, including the troops already on the ground.

The deployment will bring the total number of American forces in Liberia and neighbouring states to 3?200, officials said.

Earlier yesterday, AP reported that a hazardous-materials crew decontaminated the Texas apartment where an Ebola patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, was staying when he got sick, while public?health officials cut by half the number of people being monitored for any symptoms of the deadly disease.

The first Ebola diagnosis in the US has raised concerns about whether the disease that has killed 3?400 people in West Africa could spread in the US. Federal health officials are confident they can keep it in check.

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