WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs, praised steps announced by the White House Tuesday morning to confront the humanitarian crisis caused by the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa. The announcements come five days after Senator Coons laid out a series of ways that the United States could strengthen its response.

“With a little luck, history will look at today as the day that the tide began to turn in the fight against Ebola,” Senator Coons said. “The scope of the new resources announced by the Obama Administration today is truly impressive, and I hope it will be deeply consequential. The kind of broad support and assistance being prescribed now is the only way to slow the virus’ exponential spread through West Africa and prevent the type of extreme spike in new cases that some are expecting in the next few months. This humanitarian intervention should serve as a firewall against a global security crisis that has the potential to reach American soil.

“Under this strategy, the United States government will utilize the unique resources and capabilities that only it possesses,” Senator Coons continued. “The Department of Defense’s logistical capabilities are unmatched in the world and will help regional and international medical personnel prevent infections and save lives, and the deployment and training of medical personnel will have an immediate impact on slowing the spread of the virus. The standing up of a Joint Force Command in Monrovia, and deployment of U.S. forces to support humanitarian efforts and construct field hospitals have my complete support.

“I applaud the new steps being laid out today, and I look forward to hearing more when the President speaks from Atlanta this afternoon.”

In a speech on the Senate floor last week, Senator Coons called a stronger response from the United States to the Ebola outbreak and humanitarian crisis in West Africa. “This is also not everything we can and should be doing,” he said. Among other steps, he called for the White House to appoint a coordinator to manage the United States’ whole-of-government response to this Ebola outbreak, and for the Department of Defense to increase its commitment by building field hospitals for those infected with the virus and offering airlift services for privately donated supplies and equipment.