(Adds U.S. military team in Liberia)
By Lesley Wroughton
WASHINGTON Aug 4 International development
banks on Monday committed $260 million in emergency loans for
three West African countries hit by the deadly Ebola virus as
nearly 50 African leaders gathered in Washington for a
U.S.-hosted summit focusing on the region.
The World Bank said it would provide as much as $200 million
in emergency funding to help Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
"I am very worried that many more lives are at risk unless
we can stop this Ebola epidemic in its tracks," World Bank
President Jim Yong Kim said in a statement. "The international
community needs to act fast to contain and stop this Ebola
outbreak," he added.
African Development Bank President Donald Kaberuka told
Reuters that his bank would immediately disburse funds to the
three countries, whose health systems and resources have been
strained by the outbreak. The worst outbreak of Ebola ever has
killed nearly 900 people since it began in February.
Bank officials said the funding was close to $60 million.
The funding is in response to a $100 million plan launched
by the World Health Organization last week to tackle the
epidemic. WHO chief Margaret Chan said on Friday that Ebola was
outpacing efforts to contain it and warned of "catastrophic"
consequences if the situation deteriorated.
The United States will also provide more help to the
affected countries and to international agencies responding to
the outbreak, providing equipment and technical expertise, State
Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Monday.
Separately, the Pentagon on Monday said that a small U.S.
military team - made up of less than five uniformed and civilian
personnel - was in Liberia, where they helped set up a
diagnostic laboratory related to the disease and provided
protective equipment and test kits to laboratory personnel. A
similar center was also established in Sierra Leone, Pentagon
spokesman Colonel Steve Warren told reporters.
Senior State Department officials met with Guinean President
Alpha Conde and representatives from Liberia and Sierra Leone to
discuss U.S. support.
"The group identified national and regional priorities and
held intensive discussions on the types of assistance needed to
mount an effective response," the State Department said.
Liberia and Sierra Leone's presidents canceled their plans
to attend the summit to deal with the outbreak at home, although
they have sent delegations to the meetings.
The nearly 50 African leaders are attending the economic,
security and diplomatic summit through Wednesday.
U.S. President Barack Obama said on Friday that the United
States was "taking the appropriate precautions" and that some
participants at the summit would be screened for exposure to the
A second American aid worker who contracted the hemorrhagic
virus while helping fight the disease in West Africa was
expected to arrive in Atlanta on Tuesday, according to Christian
mission group SIM USA.
Sierra Leone and Liberia deployed hundreds of troops on
Monday under an emergency plan to fight the spread of the virus.
(Additional reporting by Anna Yukhananov and Missy Ryan in
Washington; Editing by David Storey, Jonathan Oatis and Lisa