69th session of the UN General AssemblyThe West Africa Ebola outbreak is “a growing threat to regional and global security,” U.S. President Barack Obama said Thursday, telling a high-level meeting on the deadly epidemic at the U.N. General Assembly that only an international response can prevent “a humanitarian catastrophe across the region.” “If ever there were a public health emergency deserving of an urgent, strong and coordinated international response, this is it,” the President said. Obama has declared the epidemic — which is centered in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone — a national security priority amid fears it could spread farther afield and claim many more lives. “This is more than a health crisis,” he said. “This is a growing threat to regional and global security. In Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, public health systems are near collapse. Economic growth is slowing dramatically. If this epidemic is not stopped, this disease could cause a humanitarian catastrophe across the region.” More