Obama Tackles Ebola at the U.N.

President Obama addresses the United Nations on the Ebola virus outbreak, rallies world leaders to do more.
16:51 | 09/25/14

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Transcript for Obama Tackles Ebola at the U.N.
Globe when -- -- for New York developing now on ABC news states for President Obama at the UN addressing a global crisis the Ebola outbreak. Let's listen it. As Secretary General -- and doctor Chan and Marty indicated. Ebola Virus is spreading at. Alarming speed. Thousands of men women and children have -- Thousands more are infected. If unchecked. This epidemic could kill. Hundreds of thousands of people in the coming months. Hundreds of thousands. -- -- is a horrific disease. That's wiping out entire families. It's turned. Simple acts of love and comfort and kindness like holding a sick friend's hand. Or -- a dying child. In two potentially fatal acts. If ever there were a public health emergency deserving. An urgent. Strong and coordinated international response this is it. But this is also more than a health crisis. There's a growing threat to regional. And global secured. In Liberia. And get ahead in Sierra Leone. Public health systems have collapsed. Economic growth. Is slowing dramatically. This epidemic is not stopped this disease could. Cause. A humanitarian catastrophe. Across the region. And in an -- where regional crises. Can quickly become global threats stopping a -- is in the interest of all of us. Our courageous men and women fighting on the front lines. Of this is -- told us what they -- they need more beds they need more supplies. They need more health workers and they need all of this as fast as possible. Right now patients are being left to die in the streets. Because there's nowhere to put up. There's nobody to help them. One health worker in Sierra -- compared fighting this outbreak to fighting a forest fire. With spray bottles. But with our help. They can put up -- place. Last week I visit the -- of disease control and prevention. Which is mounting the largest international response in its history. I said that the world could count on America to lead. And that we will provide the capability is. That only we have and mobilize the world. The way. We have done in the past. In crises of similar -- entered. And I announce that in addition to the civilian response. The United States -- to establish a military command in Liberia. To support civilian efforts across the region. Today that command is -- and it is running. Our commanders on the ground in Monrovia. And our teams are working as fast as they can to move in personnel. Equipment and supplies. We're working with Senegal to stand up an air bridge to get health workers and medical supplies into West Africa faster. We're setting up a field hospital which will be staffed by personnel. From the US public health service. And -- training facility where we're getting ready to train thousands of help workers from around the world. We're distributing supplies. And information kits to hundreds of thousands of families so they can better protect themselves. Together -- our partners. Will quickly build new treatment units across Liberia. Guinea and Sierra Leon worth thousands will be able to receive care. Meanwhile in just the past week more countries and organizations have stepped up their efforts and so -- the United Nations. The sector general of the new UN mission for Ebola emergency response the announced last week will bring all. Of the UN's resources to bear in fighting the epidemic we thank you for your leadership. So this all progress and it is encouraging. But. I want us to be clear. We are not moving fast enough. We are not doing. Enough. Right now. Everybody has the best of intentions. But people are not putting him the kinds of resources that are necessary. To put a stop to this epidemic. There's still a significant gap between where we are -- -- -- debate. We know from experience. That the response to an outbreak of this magnitude. Has to be fast and it has to be suspect. It's a marathon vote you have to run it like a sprint. And that's only possible if everybody chips that if every nation. And every organization takes this seriously. Everybody here pass through drew more. International organizations have to move faster and cut through red tape. And mobilize partners on the ground. As only they can't. More nations need to contribute critical assets and capabilities whether it is air transport or medical evacuation or health care workers or equipment. Or treatment. More foundations can tap into the networks of support the -- have to raise funds and awareness more businesses. Especially those who already have a presence in the region. Can quickly provide their own expertise and -- resources. From access to critical supply chains to telecommunications. And more citizens of all nations can educate themselves on this crisis. Contribute to relief efforts and call on their leaders to act so everybody can do something. That's why we're here today. And even as we meet. -- urgent threat of Ebola. It's clear that our nations have to do more to prevent detect and respond to future biological threats. Before they erupt in the former blown crisis. Tomorrow in Washington almost 44 nations to advance our global health security agenda and we -- interest in working with any country. That shares this commitment. Just emphasize this issue of speed again when I was -- at CDC. And perhaps is already been discussed but I want to emphasize this. The outbreak of such were at this point. More people will not. But. This the slope of the current. How fast we can arrest. The spread of this disease how quickly we can contain. Is within our control and if we move past. Even if imperfectly. Then that could mean the difference. Between. 101020000. 30000 -- vs. Hundreds of thousands or even a million -- So. This is not one where there should be a lot of wrangling and people waiting to see who else is doing what. Everybody's got to move fast. In order for us to make a difference. And if we do we'll save hundreds of thousands of -- Stopping a bowl as a priority for the United States. I've said that this is as important national security priority for my team as anything else that's out there. We'll do our part we will continue to lead but this has to be a priority for everybody else. We cannot do this alone we don't have the capacity to do all of this by ourselves we don't have enough health workers by ourselves. We can build the infrastructure. In the architecture to get help -- but we're gonna need others to contribute. My fellow leaders from Liberia Sierra Leone and getting. To the people -- West Africa. To the heroic health workers -- on the ground as we speak in some cases putting themselves at risk. I want you to know that you are -- -- Working urgently to give you -- help you need. And we will -- stop we will not relent until we hope the -- epidemic. Once and for all so I want to thank all of you for the efforts that are made. But I hope. That I improperly communicating. Sense of urgency here. Do not stand by thinking that somehow because of what we've done. That it's taken care. It's not. And if we don't take care of this now. We are gonna see. A fallout effects and secondary effects from this that will have ramifications. For a long time. Above and beyond the lives that will have been lost I urge all of you. Particularly those who have direct access to your heads of state. To make sure that they are making this a top priority in the next several weeks and months. Thank you very much. The president -- speech at the United Nations to talk about -- crisis. In South Africa and at the urging. Of of the country's stepped in with some efforts. ABC's -- -- -- on the latest not on the president's speech -- but of course how the White House has been -- Ebola outbreak and wanna bring evidence discussed present plan an announcement speech today at UN. Devin last -- the president made that announcement saying that the US now has that very ambitious plan. The president just outlined there that is not only a civilian response but also a military response. The sense then that the US is now waiting for other countries to -- -- to make contributions still but is there any kind of contingency for other will be an international coalition to respond. Well a number of countries can't have already stepped up to participate here what the president is worried there's he as you mentioned at the end is that. Given the what the president -- called historic American commitment and leadership on the effort that other countries or simply stepped aside and specifically what they're looking for here. Is they need bodies they need actual medical workers to go into West Africa -- to help treat. And care for some of these patients and right now. That's something that there's a lot of concern about obviously the United States. As we've reported before sending end at 3000 troops to West Africa other buildings seventeen a -- treatment unions they're preparing to train. Medical workers there. But there's a lot of questions about who those medical workers are going to be -- where they're going to come from. And how they can help too as he is the president put it today arrest the spread of this disease. That seems to be the biggest question right now and they're looking for leadership from some of those neighboring countries to get actual. Health workers in there to do some of the dirty work with logistical support from the United States -- the air bridges the -- hospitals -- -- like. If you mention that -- those neighboring countries there in West Africa that might be the most affected by the come from it the urgency of this. What about other perhaps European nations that might be better financed and better could -- -- handle something like this is the White House going after any particular country or region to step up. To contribute more. What's really a worldwide call -- they have worked with western. Allies the French the British others have contributed of course in the World Health Organization. Through the UN which is mobilizing its own effort here so there is -- pretty much widespread participation even important to know the UN Security Council this week here at the UN. A resolution on participation received the most co sponsors in the history of the UN Security Council so there's a lot of support on paper. And where the president was trying to do today was really amp up the concern about this is a global health priority the numbers from the CC. Just in the past couple of days -- are stunning as you know. In January if more isn't done here -- he -- predicting more than half a million cases -- a bullet could hit West Africa that's a few months from now. But they said if they can get more of those bodies in -- get more resources get more training to really begin to treat the patients. They could -- 70% of this contained by January the end of January said the CDC. Really ramping up efforts here as well what they've called their biggest effort against any African history but they are looking. Again for more resources and bodies money is another important factor here to get this jump started. -- -- and I want to ask you about this because obviously it's been a very intense week not for the White House but clearly for the international community. Has the white house -- that there is a concern meant to raise the level of awareness about this a -- outbreak given the tenor up spices. And the new terror group that has been the focus of those airstrikes. That's right three major crises this week here trifecta of crises at the UN you mentioned war on crisis. You've got the climate change crisis which the president declared yesterday that the challenge of the century. For the world but I did there is a lot of -- a risk that Ebola outbreak is -- overshadowed now by this war that's underway. And that's what today's session was all about is really camping this up he called it more than help health crisis a threat to global security White House officials told us they really believe. That if this does spread if the virus mutates which is one concern if it's not. Put out extinguished you're pretty quickly that it could spread much more quickly even to the united states of the there's no sign of that yet. But they see this is -- top national security priority. And one that's almost on par with what they're doing now against this terrorists in Iraq and Syria again. -- -- -- and then let me ask you about this than what is then -- the appetite in the temperature in Washington right now as far as handling and putting more resources towards this Ebola outbreak. I -- I know right now there were approaching mid term elections. And a lot of congress obviously out trying to stump for reelection or being concern -- with their individual issues. This obviously not on just a national concern but an international concern. That's right and one that's quite interest in the in the middle of the campaign season that has the most bipartisan support global support and in. It hit its not easy to disagree that more needs to be done on the -- let's -- you are gonna find many detractors here you have a lot of support for this. Congress as you noted did leave -- now for the campaign not to be back in session to mid November so there isn't. It'd be 82 approval of funds there but there is a what the what's called reprogramming ability for the Pentagon. And other federal agencies to use money that's already there to kind of shifted. To the Ebola fight we learned last week that there to spend more than a billion US dollars up to a billion dollars. On this surge of US resources to fight -- that's a lot of money it didn't require congressional approval. That you -- your right you didn't see your vote on this even though it has a lot of bipartisan support. And there's not a lot of criticism on the. The president has been very hands on intact and this is this issue case in point by going to the CDC. And as he made reference in front of a UN Security Council this morning. Pointing out some of the issues that the CDC here obviously United States is facing and handling any cases that might be coming here. But also how those kinds -- efforts might be translator abroad. That's right absolutely and and might we said that with the White House kind of feels like this is an issue to cloak itself with at a time of deep partisanship a lot of criticism of the president over spot foreign policy we know the poll numbers they're not very good for him. So this is something that he can kind of trumpet show American leadership on yesterday at the UN in his address it was about how America is leading. On all three major crises right now climate change -- bola this war against basis and Islamic militants. I'm so -- trying to kind of jump start that here in using the CDC kind of a nonpartisan. Universally. Endorsed way of kind of pushing forward on that front. And he announced today as you saw there that he -- it has announced that the military operations center is under way in Liberia and that American general. Is now on the ground -- ABC's -- -- -- -- the latest as the president has wrapping up his stay at the United Nations Devin thank you for that mr.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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