Kerry: "We Need Airlines To Continue To Operate In West Africa And We Need Borders To Remain Open"

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SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY: President Obama has made it crystal clear that Ebola is an urgent global crisis that demands an urgent global response. The United States has intensified every aspect of our engagement, and that includes providing Ebola treatment units, recruiting first responders, and supplying a critical set of medical equipment.

Just 48 hours ago, President Obama convened another strategy meeting at the White House in order to discuss where we are and where we need to get to, and I want to discuss that in a moment. But in addition to that, I have been in daily contact with Rajiv Shah and – the USAID director, and Deputy Secretary of State Heather Higginbottom, and our Ebola Coordinator Ambassador Nancy Powell, in order to make sure that we are bringing all of our resources to this effort.

I’m here this morning to make an urgent plea to countries in the world to step up even further. While we are making progress, we are not where we can say that we need to be. And there is additional – there are additional needs that have to be met in order for the global community to be able to properly respond to this challenge, and to make sure that we protect people in all of our countries.

There are specific needs, and I want to emphasize those needs by showing a few slides, if I can. As you’ll see in the first slide to my left here, we need more countries to move resources of specific kinds. It is not just a question of sending people, though it is vital to send people. But we need Ebola treatment units. We need health care workers. We need medevac capacity. We need mobile laboratory and staff. We need nonmedical support: telecommunications, generators, incinerators, public communications capacity, training, construction. We also need large assistance of health system strengthening, of cash that countries could contribute, budget support, food, other humanitarian efforts, and we need ways of getting that equipment to people.

All of these things are frankly urgent in order to be able to quickly move to contain the spread of Ebola. We need airlines to continue to operate in West Africa and we need borders to remain open. And we need to strengthen the medevac capacity. We need countries to contribute more Ebola treatment centers, and we need other African countries with the capacity to send responders to join the effort. And we need to make sure that the health care workers who go are properly trained, properly equipped, and supported in order to prevent additional infections.

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