UPDATE 1-Britain sends military to fight Ebola as firms urge more action

Mon Sep 8, 2014 11:59am EDT
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* Britain to build and staff 62-bed Ebola facility

* Mining executives call on world leaders to step up

* President Obama says U.S. needs to do more (Adds details, statement from 11 chief executives)

By Umaru Fofana

FREETOWN, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Britain said on Monday it would send military and humanitarian experts to Sierra Leone to set up a treatment centre for Ebola victims, as 11 major companies urged the international community to step up the fight against the worst outbreak of the disease.

International Development Secretary Justine Greening said the 62-bed facility would be built and operated by British military engineers and medical staff near the capital Freetown. The initial phase will be operational within eight weeks.

"The scale of the problem requires the entire international community to do more to assist the affected countries," Greening said in a statement.

The epidemic in West Africa - the worst since the disease was discovered in 1976 - has killed some 2,100 people in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Nigeria and has also spread to Senegal. The World Health Organization believes it will take six to nine months to contain, and could affect up to 20,000 people.

Tom Frieden, head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), warned last week after visiting the region that the outbreak was gathering pace and threatened fragile West African nations.   Continued...