President Barack Obama is sending 3,000 U.S. soldiers into Africa to help stop the spread of the deadly Ebola disease.
The troops will operate from Liberia under the direction of U.S. Africa Command, at an initial cost of $500 million.
They will be accompanied by civilians doctors, and will build medical facilities in the nearby countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Senegal that are the primary source of the disease.
They will try train 500 locals per week to perform basic medical care.
They’ll also work to curb the a small outbreak of the disease in the huge country of Nigeria, whose population of 175,000 million is dependent on functioning cities.
“Every outbreak of Ebola over the past 40 years has been contained, and we are confident that this one can — and will be — as well,” said a Monday statement from the White House.
The current outbreak began December 2013 in Guinea, and has killed roughly 2,500 people so far.
However, the disease may kill far more people if it spreads outwards into Africa’s dense cities, which lack the ability to detect and contain the disease, or to feed themselves if the food distribution system stops working.
Obama will deliver a speech on the new initiative around 4 p.m. in Atlanta, Ga., after visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has already sent 100 experts to Africa.
At the center, he’s scheduled to “receive a briefing on the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa, discuss the U.S. response and thank the scientists, doctors and health care workers helping those affected by disease at home and around the world,” according to the schedule released by the White House.
The federal government has already spent $100 million to slow the disease’s spread.
U.S. borders officials say they are checking visitors to the United States for evidence of infections before they are allowed into the nation.