First of all, my profound thanks to all of you who are concerned about the Ebola situation in our country and continue to remember us in your prayers. Some of you call or write to check how things are going and how we are doing in this crisis. I will make special mention of Catherine Gill-Jamieson, Elizabeth Thorne, David Turner, Lena Marner, Mary Smith, and Anders Marner. We appreciate your concern for humanity.
“Ebola Is Real” sign in Monrovia, Liberia (Photo: UN)
At this junction, permit me to provide some information on the Ebola issue in our country.
From all indications, it is safe to say that things are NOT getting better. Why do I say this? Well, first, there was no state of emergency. Then a state of emergency was announced. Second, there was no curfew. Now, one has been announced, and it is for the entire country, not just the capital city or a few cities. Third, two townships (one in Montserrado and one in Margibi) – West Point and Dolo Town – have been quarantined. Besides, not only are more and more people believed to be contracting the Ebola virus, but also more and more people are dying of the virus or suspected of dying of it. Fourth, the virus is spreading to more regions. For example, from the onset, the point of concentration was Lofa County. Now, we do not only talk about Lofa; we also talk about Montserrado, Bong, Bomi, Nimba, etc. Fifth, many individuals and institutions, including NGOs and members of the Liberian Legislature, are blaming/criticizing the government for doing little or nothing to prevent the spread of the virus or to help people who have contracted it. Surely, these are NOT signs that things are improving.
There was a clash between the residents of West Point and Liberian security forces yesterday (August 20). At least three people were seriously injured in the process. There are also reports that the prices of basic commodities increased in certain quarters, especially in West Point.
Another problem associated with the fight against the virus is the series of inconsistent and – sometimes illogical and irresponsible – pronouncements or information coming from the government or those connected with it. For instance, President Sirleaf announced a few weeks ago that all Ebola-related dead bodies should and would be cremated because, according to her, burying the bodies would contaminate our wells, waters, etc. But guess what? Dead bodies are being buried instead of being cremated. No one, not even the President, is talking about cremation anymore. The new argument is that the Ebola virus does not survive for long outside a living tissue — that it dies when the body is buried. But if this is true, then why did the President say that burying the dead body would contaminate our wells, waters, etc?
Anyway, there is some good news. For example, some of those who contracted the virus and were given early treatment at Ebola Isolation Centers have recovered, and they have been sent home. Some of them have spoken on the radio and on television. This, to me, indicates that if seriousness and cautiousness are applied, the virus can be kicked out of our land quicker than expected. Besides, more and more people are observing the safety measures announced by the government and our health workers.
It’s also worth mentioning that all schools, including colleges and universities, are closed for now. The government has announced that it will inform school authorities when schools should reopen. As indicated above, the government has imposed a 9pm-to-6am curfew in the country. It also announced that all video clubs and entertainment centers should be closed at 6pm. Also, not all those who are employed are going to work. Most of them, including those working with international non-governmental organizations, have been told to stay at home, saying that only “essential staff” should go to work.
By the way, many people are experiencing some very tough times during this period. In other words, things are very hard these days for a lot of people.
That’s all for now. More updates later — that is, if I manage to get online.
Note: In the next few days we will post an update on the annex project fundraising thus far. We register our apology for our inability to have done so by now.
Written by Paul Yeenie Harry (+231 880619323)