Supporting, Non-Standard Mission Role: U.S. Operations in Liberia, 2014-2015, that Enabled the U.S. and UN Response to the EVD Outbreak
Africa Center for Strategic Studies Washington United States
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Operation UNITED ASSISTANCE OUA, which deployed to Liberia between September 2014 and June 2015, provides an example of how a Joint Force can support a lead federal agency LFA, in this case the U.S. Agency for International Development USAID and other interagency and international partners to end a raging epidemic of Ebola Virus Disease EVD. This EVD outbreak began in late 2013, when Emile Ouamouno, a two year old from Meliandou, a village in Guinea, close to the border with Liberia and Sierra Leone, died of a hemorrhagic fever. Soon after, many of his relatives and their connections, who lived across the region, also became ill and died. In March 2014, a team from the Institut Pasteur in France confirmed that the hemorrhagic fever spreading through the region was EVD. By then, more than 2,400 people had died from the disease. By the time the epidemic ended, in Liberia alone, 15,227 cases of EVD had been confirmed through laboratory tests and 11,310 people had died. But in the spring and summer of 2014, clinics and treatment centers were soon overcrowded, turning people away, and people were dying in the streets, unable to get even the most basic medical care. The worsening situation led the World Health Organization WHO to declare the EVD epidemic a global health emergency on August 8, 2014. When affected populations began to protest the lack of medical care for their afflicted loved ones, as occurred in Liberia on August 16, 2014, the most affected countries political leaders i.e., Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone realized they would need additional international assistance to stop the epidemic.
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