Liberia ambassador: U.S. aid crucial to stopping Ebola

Liberia ambassador: U.S. aid crucial to stopping Ebola

Liberia needs help from U.S. troops, more ambulances and food to cope with the Ebola crisis, but the deadly disease can be brought under control by the end of the year, its ambassador to the United States said Wednesday.

With enough support from outside, “we could see a good sign of improvement” during the next two months, Jeremiah Sulunteh told The Associated Press on Wednesday at Elizabethtown College, where he delivered a lecture about the challenges facing Liberia.

He said a plan to have 3,000 U.S. troops to train Liberian health care workers and set up containment centers is key to the recovery effort in Liberia, which is among the African countries hardest-hit by the lethal virus.

An ambulance shortage has resulted in sick people spreading the disease because they must use public transportation to get medical help, he said. Food shortages also are a growing threat, he said.

“I feel strongly that food will be a problem because a lot of farms were abandoned, a lot of farmers were killed,” he said.

Sulunteh also said he would support the use of trial vaccines on Ebola patients.

Thirty-eight new Ebola cases were reported last week — down from a weekly peak of more than 100. So far, 2,700 Liberians have died of Ebola.

Sulunteh, who holds two masters’ degrees, lives and works in the United States as a representative of his native Liberia. The nation has had close ties to the United States since it was founded by former American slaves in 1847.

More than 4,500 people have died from Ebola, most in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.