President Barack Obama is expected to announce plans to enhance the United States' role in reining in the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday. The deadly virus has so far claimed the lives of at least 2,400 people mostly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Obama will reveal the plan during a visit to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta on Tuesday, the Journal reported, citing sources familiar with the situation. The Journal also reported that Obama could ask Congress for $88 million to fund his proposal. The plan's announcement will come only days after Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf sent a letter to Obama requesting for urgent assistance to fight the disease that has infected at least 4,784 people.
"There's a lot that we've been putting toward this, but it is not sufficient," Lisa Monaco, Obama's counterterrorism adviser, told the Journal. "So the president has directed a more scaled-up response and that's what you're going to hear more about on Tuesday."
The U.S. government has already committed about $100 million to provide food, water, medical and hygiene equipment to regions affected by Ebola. The Journal also reported that Obama plans to seek the help of world leaders at the United Nations next week, and urge them to help with funds, material and health workers.
Meanwhile, the U.S. military said recently that it would build a 25-bed portable hospital unit in Liberia to help treat health workers infected by Ebola.
"We think these measures, this enhanced response, will help us bring this under control," a White House official told the Journal. "The military has unique capabilities in terms of logistical capacities, in terms of manpower, in terms of operating in austere environments."