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MONROVIA, Liberia — Six U.S. military planes arrived Thursday at the epicenter of the Ebola crisis, carrying more aid and American Marines into Liberia, the country hardest hit by the deadly disease that has devastated West Africa and stirred anxiety across a fearful world.

At a World Bank meeting in Washington, the presidents of several West African countries struggling with Ebola pleaded for help, with one calling the epidemic "a tragedy unforeseen in modern times."

"Our people are dying," Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma lamented by video conference at a bank meeting in Washington. He said the world is not responding fast enough as children are orphaned and infected doctors and nurses are lost to the disease.

Alpha Conde of Guinea said the region's countries are in "a very fragile situation."

"This disease is today an international threat and deserves an international response," he said, speaking through a translator.

Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said he was reminded of the start of the AIDS epidemic.

"We have to work now so this is not the next AIDS," Frieden said.

The fleet that landed outside the Liberian capital of Monrovia consisted of four MV-22 Ospreys and two KC-130s. The 100 additional Marines bring to just over 300 the total number of American troops in the country, said Maj. Gen. Darryl A. Williams, the commander leading the U.S. response.

Meanwhile, British authorities said they would introduce "enhanced" screening of travelers for Ebola at Heathrow and Gatwick airports and Eurostar rail terminals.

Read Friday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for more on this story.

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