WASHINGTON, October 17 (RIA Novosti) - US President Barack Obama has authorized the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security to use reserve and National Guard troops in the United States' response to the Ebola spread in West Africa, the White House said.
"I hereby determine that it is necessary to augment the active Armed Forces of the United States for the effective conduct of Operation United Assistance, which is providing support to civilian-led humanitarian assistance and consequence management support related to the Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa," President Obama said in the Executive Order released late Thursday on the White House official website.
National Guard troops are comprised of the reserve military force from all US military units of every US state and territory. They are used as an additional military reserve to protect the country during times of national emergency.
The US already has hundreds of boots on the ground in West Africa, and have committed to send up to 4,000 troops to the region to build Ebola treatment centers and to provide logistics and training to local personnel.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said Wednesday that 4,493 people have died from the current Ebola outbreak, and as of October 12, there have been 8,997 confirmed and probable cases of the disease in seven different countries. The WHO is also predicting that by the end of the week, there will be over 4,500 Ebola deaths and over 9,000 cases of the deadly disease.