Washington is asking for $88 million in additional funds to fight Ebola

Kevin Liptak and Jen Christensen 

Countless taxis filled with families worried they've become infected with Ebola crisscross Monrovia in search of help.

They scour the Liberian capital, but not one clinic can take them in for treatment.

"Today, there is not one single bed available for the treatment of an Ebola patient in the entire country of Liberia," said Margaret Chan, the World Health Organization's director-general.

"As soon as a new Ebola treatment facility is opened, it immediately fills to overflowing with patients," the WHO said.

Hospitals and clinics in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone -- the countries hit hardest by the outbreak -- are overwhelmed by what the WHO is calling the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history.

The virus has killed at least 2,400 people, and thousands more are infected. And there are now cases in Nigeria and Senegal.

"The number of new cases is increasing exponentially," the WHO said, calling the situation a "dire emergency with ... unprecedented dimensions of human suffering."

On Tuesday, President Obama will announce that more help is on the way. He'll visit the Atlanta headquarters of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for a briefing on the outbreak.

The U.S. efforts already under way to fight Ebola are considered more extensive than any previous American response to an epidemic.

Seeking $88 million more in aid

Washington has committed more than $100 million to combat Ebola, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development. Obama plans to call on Congress to approve an additional $88 million as part of a bill to fund the federal government.

Last week, USAID said it would spend $75 million to build treatment facilities and supply them with medical equipment. The Pentagon says it's working to shift $500 million of not yet obligated funds toward the Ebola effort.

Working through the Defense Department, the United States will plan and construct treatment centers that could house up to 1,700 additional beds. With a U.S. general leading the effort from Monrovia, American military personnel in the region could increase by 3,000, administration officials say, under the name Operation United Assistance.

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