US to end anti-Ebola mission in West Africa: Pentagon

Written by: IANS
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Washington, Feb 11: Most of the US military personnel deployed as part of the anti-Ebola mission in West Africa would return home by April 30, the Pentagon said.

"Over the past several months, the department of defence delivered critical life-saving resources, constructed Ebola treatment units, trained hundreds of local and international healthcare workers, and provided logistical support to humanitarian and public health workers, who provided care throughout West Africa," Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said in a statement Tuesday.


The West African countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have been the worst hit by the Ebola outbreak and at the height of the epidemic, 2,800 US military personnel were deployed in the region.

"Given the success of the US response to the crisis, the majority of DOD (department of defence) personnel in West Africa will now return home," Kirby said.

He said, around 1,500 of them were already back at their duty stations and nearly all would return by April 30, adding that the personnel returning would be quarantined and monitored for Ebola.

After April 30, the US will still leave behind about 100 defence employees to continue supporting anti-Ebola efforts, according to the official.

"They will build on a strong military partnership with the armed forces of Liberia to enhance their Ebola response efforts," he said.

The US would also leave behind important assets that could help health workers stem potential outbreaks in the future, the official added.

The disease has now affected 22,525 people, with deaths reaching 9,004, according to a media report earlier this month, which cited the latest World Health Organisation (WHO) figures.

The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), on the other hand, said at least 3,600 children have been orphaned as a result of the Ebola outbreak in West African countries.


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