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Five-hundred-million dollars - that's how much defense spending President Obama is set to request to help West Africa curb the Ebola epidemic. The disease has taken the lives of more than 2,400 people in the region and shows no signs of slowing down. NPR's Scott Horsley reports on White House plans for everything from medical support to burial teams.
SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: A top White House official outlines the chilling progress of the unchecked epidemic; dozens of cases have turned into hundreds, hundreds into thousands. If not stopped soon in heavily populated West Africa, the official warns we could be looking at hundreds of thousands of cases. That alarm has President Obama meeting today with experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Spokesman Josh Earnest says Obama will announce a major ramp-up in U.S. efforts to address the threat.
JOSH EARNEST: The United States has unique capabilities in a wide range of areas, and that means the United States has a unique responsibility to step up in the midst of an international crisis.
HORSLEY: The Defense Department will establish a medical beachhead in Liberia, the hardest-hit country, offering engineering support to build 17 new treatment centers with 100 beds each and a facility to train up to 500 health care workers every week. Officials say the U.S. military will serve as a backbone encouraging other countries to offer their own assistance. Still they caution it will take time to reverse the deadly curve of the epidemic. The U.S. is also sending 5,000 body bags and training dozens of burial teams. Scott Horsley, NPR News, Washington.
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