Declaring War on Ebola
August 19, 2014 • 7:27AM

International Emergency Mobilization Urgent for Ebola Outbreak in West Africa—A Military Style Response

The following are priority categories of intervention urgently required to roll back and defeat the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak spreading in West Africa, which is a world health emergency. There must be a military-style, international mobilization. Selected updates are given from recent relief agency reports, to indicate what is involved for a full-scale response, and to enlist experts to spell it out, and enforce action.

The nature of what is needed is the same, in principle, as that required, but not undertaken, in Haiti, in response to the January 12, 2010 earthquake disaster, which befell an already impoverished people and economic landscape. Today in West Africa, only the scale of the disaster is different and larger. It involves a killer microbe—the Ebola virus, which is one of three members of the Filoviridae family, and for which there is no licensed medical treatment or vaccine for use in people or animals. EVD involves fever and internal bleeding. Human-to-human transmission takes place readily via bodily fluids, only relatively less easily than by aerosol means.

The only way to save lives at present, is to isolate the stricken person, give supportive treatment (hydration, breathing assistance, etc.), trace and isolate all contacts for the necessary quarantine period (approx. three weeks), and roll back the transmission of the virus. Depending on the underlying health of the patient, early diagnosis and proper treatment, the death rate can range downward from 90% to 50%. EVD is a killer; logistics-in-depth is the difference between life and death.

In the case of Haiti, the full-scale logistics response plan was proposed February 23, 2010 by Lyndon LaRouche, in his call to relocate the population to high ground, and rebuild; this was also proposed to President Obama personally, by networks associated with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. However, the White House turned both down cold. Now cholera is established in Haiti and the island of Hispaniola, as is chikungunya, a recent viral fever disease from Africa, plus resurgent malaria and other diseases. This must be stopped.

The all-out mobilization to end EVD in West Africa must commence.

- I. BASIC NECESSITIES -

The population in the immediate three nations of the outbreak is 23 millions, Liberia (4.5 million), the Republic of Guinea (12 million) and Sierra Leone (6.3 million). Plus there are cases in in Nigeria (178.6 millions). The displacement of people, and disruption to necessary activities, e.g. crops, sets up a need to ensure basic necessities across the board. This is severe in the core areas defined by the current outbreak, but also across the larger region of West Africa, as seen in the 15 member nations of ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States), whose combined population is over 250 millions.

Food. The UN World Food Program said on Aug. 15, that food must be provided to at least a million people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the hardest-hit locations. This is a conservative estimate of need. The number will increase, and the need will continue for some time. In some places, trucks are distributing the food, including cooked meals, according to Steve Taravella, a WFP spokesman, on Aug. 15. Provision must be made for people to eat, who don't have the means to prepare food. Disruption in the rural areas, automatically means disruption to producing subsistence and commercial crops. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization, working with each nation's government, must supply an immediate set of contingency plans.

Water. As of 10 years ago, only about 63% of the larger region of ECOWAS had access to safe water, with little or no improvement since. Therefore, safe water for the areas of displaced people, as well as for medical treatment centers, the food chain and other purposes must be rigged up.

Sanitation. Likewise, sanitation measures for personal hygiene, under conditions of mass dislocation, as well as in home settlements, must be rigged up. In addition, sanitation measures for dealing with the dead, with contaminated materials, and related exigencies must be set up on the scale required.

Transportation. Very few paved roads exist. Fleets of relevant vehicles (vans, tankers, field-refrigerated trucks, etc.) must be mustered, along with setting up fuel storage, distribution and international delivery logistics. The UN, World Bank and World Health Organization have conferred on making air-drops of food aid, especially to regions such as the Mano River basin (on the border between Liberia and Sierra Leone), home to over a million people, and an epicenter of the disease.

Power. Hospitals and other key centers must have contingency arrangements for reliable electicity.

Housing. Adequate, though camp-style, housing must be set up, and/or expanded wherever necessary, ranging from emergency barracks, to semi-permanent dwellings. There are military and other models for this, utilizing means ranging from mobile units to hoop buildings (modern version of quonset huts).

Quarantine facilities. Decent conditions for those needing to be under watch for manifesting Ebola symptoms (up to 21 days) must be expanded to whatever location and scale necessary.

Security. Security arrangements, associated with protecting daily life, access to necessities, and health and medical aid, must be worked out with the host governments and mission forces.

- II. PUBLIC HEALTH -

Medical Care Capacity. It is vital for Ebola patients to have the full means of medical support, such as oxygen assistance, fever mitigation, good sanitation, hydration and nutrition maintenance, etc., because there is no drug nor other cure for the disease at present. There is only support treatment. This means facilities, equipment, materials and staff, at key hospital centers throughout the epidemic region; and the setting up of contingency centers.

Health Workers. The need for staff is dire. At present, charity and volunteer organizations comprise most of frontline ranks, which are far below numbers necessary. What is required is top-down staffing from multi-national commitment of military or equivalent ranks. Early in August, the World Health Organization (WHO) opened a regional coordinating center on the ground in Conakry, but the deployment capacity is way below what is needed.

On Aug. 15, Joanne Liu, of Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières), urgently called for reinforcements. "We are not talking about weeks; we're talking about months to get an upper hand on the epidemic."

Some 700 health workers from Doctors Without Borders are at various locations in the epidemic zone; 50 staff from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); plus persons from a few other organizations (Plan Ireland, Red Cross, JHpiego, et al.). Samaritan's Purse is considering on what terms it will resume sending in health workers, after one of its leading physicians contracted EVD, and was shipped back to recover stateside.

Contact Tracing/Quarantine. Tracing the contacts of an Ebola patient, to isolate and monitor them, is critical to push back the epidemic, now proceeding from multiple epicenters. This task requires staffing in depth; and quarantine facilities which work.

Education. The best kind of community support work is required, to deal with deterring the spread of the virus, in the context of the fact that fear and despair have been fostered by years of enforced poverty, lack of means of modern life, and strife—all of which are deliberate policies of the neo-British Empire in Africa. Therefore, health worker cadre are critical, amidst a context of demonstrable interventions to provide food, security and a future.

- III. BUILDING THE ECONOMY -

Accompanying the focus on defeating the terrible Ebola outbreak and disease itself, is the necessary launching of a full-scale West Africa/All Africa economic development drive. Permanent, vital infrastructure must be put in place—water, sanitation, power, transportation, cultural and scientific research centers.

Among the signal initiatives in this mission are two recent announcements for the continent: South Africa has resumed its commitment to expanding nuclear power, and high-technology nuclear research. Egypt has announced its commitment for nuclear power, for a new, expanded Suez Canal, and for the completion of the Toshka agriculture project, the vast garden in the desert. These initiatives, along with the launching of such continental-transformative projects as the TransAqua, to fully manage and direct the great Congo River Basin flow, supply the development vector, with which projects in West Africa, will make its nations flourish.

- IV. INTERNATIONAL DEFENSES -

Two obvious lines of action are urgently required:

A crash science program must be conducted to conquer the Ebola virus, with a vaccine, effective drugs, and harnessing of any advanced isotopic-age means of vanquishing enemy viruses. This requires the highest level international collaboration. A vital part of this, is to push the epidemiological knowledge, in order to devise ways to intervene in the animal-bat-virus nexus, in which the Ebola virus lurks in Africa, so the disease can be eradicated once and for all.

Interim national health defense measures and travel protocols must be activated everywhere, in the context of a commitment to economic advancement, as a matter of course.

For example, Africa-to-the-Caribbean has been a traditional transmission route for certain human, botanical and zoological infectious diseases. The latest arrival was the chikungunya virus in 2013, showing up on the Caribbean island of St. Martin, and since spreading in the United States and elsewhere in the hemisphere. The Pan American Health Organization is now warning Caribbean countries to be vigilant and prepared for possible introduction of Ebola in the region. The means to set up preparations for defense, in Haiti and everywhere else, must be provided.