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--To Send U.S. Soldiers Amid Ebola Spread

Eleven companies operating in Liberia and other West African countries have welcomed the pronouncement by U.S. President Barack Obama that the U.S. military will help in the fight against the Ebola virus.

Speaking Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press television program, President Obama said the U.S. military assets are needed to set up isolation units and equipment and provide security.

In a statement, the companies said they are understandably concerned about the impact of the Ebola virus on affected countries’ economies and the well-being of their people, which is being compounded by subsequent decisions and actions that affect travel to and trade with the region.

In a statement issued Monday September 8, the companies said they have made long term commitments to these countries and their people and that they intend to honor these commitments.

“We have strong ties to hundreds of local communities that depend on our operations. Despite the challenging environment, we are continuing where possible with normal operations, with the health and safety of our employees being the absolute priority at all times,” the companies said in the statement signed by eleven CEOs.

The CEOs who signed the statement include African Mining Services John Kavanagh, General Manager for African Operations;  ArcelorMittal Lakshmi Mittal, Chairman and CEO,  Aureus Mining Inc David Reading, CEO  Dawnus Group; Bob Jones, Managing Director Golden Veroleum Liberia; David Rothschild, Director Hummingbird Resources Plc, Dan Betts, CEO IAMGOLD Corporation, and Stephen J.J. Letwin, President and CEO London Mining Plc. Other are Graeme Hossie, CEO MonuRent; Tony Carr, CEO Newmont Mining Corporation; Gary Goldberg, President and CEO Randgold Mark Bristow, CEO.

The eleven companies urge the international community to pool its resources and lend support to help reverse the virus and enable these countries to recover as swiftly as possible from dealing with the epidemic.

They indicated that Saturday’s declaration by President Obama concerning US military support in the region is exactly the type of action that is required.

“We have enormous respect for the organizations and selfless individuals working to contain this outbreak and are committed to support them and the governments concerned to bring the epidemic to an end. As a group we are in regular dialogue with governments, NGOs and other task forces involved to support their work,” the companies said.

  The companies also acknowledge the larger coordinated global effort that is required to fight the ebola virus. They said that the global community has a strong track record in responding to natural disasters such as hurricanes or earthquakes, emphasizing “we need a similar strength of resolve to tackle an epidemic that has the potential to cause great harm to this region.”

“We therefore urge the international community to pool its resources and lend support to help reverse the virus and enable these countries to recover as swiftly as possible from dealing with the epidemic. Yesterday’s declaration by President Obama concerning US military support in the region is exactly the type of action that is required.

They noted that there is a risk the measures being taken to restrict travel to the countries most impacted by the virus will aggravate the growing humanitarian crisis.

Ebola is without doubt a horrific virus. But it is a virus that with the right understanding, precautions and processes in place should be avoidable and containable. That’s why we are calling for the immediate opening of humanitarian and economic corridors to the affected countries and urge the international community to respect the ECOWAS call to lift any travel bans in accordance with the WHO recommendation.