Date
20 August 2017
Health workers carry an abandoned body, believed to be that of a man infected with the Ebola virus, in the Liberian capital of Monrovia. Photo: Reuters
Health workers carry an abandoned body, believed to be that of a man infected with the Ebola virus, in the Liberian capital of Monrovia. Photo: Reuters

Liberia creates ‘plague villages’ in Ebola epicenter

Liberia has quarantined remote villages affected by the Ebola epidemic in a bid to control the virus spreading through West Africa, Reuters reported on Sunday.

The situation in these abandoned villages has been dire, with people facing the stark choice of staying put and risking death, as few food and medical supplies are getting in, or skipping quarantine and spreading the infection further in a country that is ill-equipped to deal with the deadly disease, according to the wire agency.

In Boya, in northern Liberia’s Lofa County, 30-year-old Joseph Gbembo, who caught the virus and survived, says he is struggling to raise 10 children under five years old and support five widows after nine members of his family were killed by the virus.

Fearful of catching Ebola themselves, Gbembo’s neighbors refuse to speak with him and blame him for bringing the virus to the village.

“I am lonely, nobody will talk to me and people run away from me,” Gbembo was quoted as saying. He says he has received no food or health care for the children and no help from government officials.

Aid workers warn that if support does not arrive soon, the villagers will simply flee.

“If sufficient medication, food and water are not in place, the community will force their way out to fetch food and this could lead to further spread of the virus,” said Tarnue Karbbar, a worker for charity Plan International based in Lofa County.

In the capital Monrovia, unidentified people attacked a health care center on Saturday, stealing the facility’s mattresses and equipment, and driving away Ebola patients, CNN reported. citing national police spokesman Sam Collins.

No one was injured in the attack, Collins told the news network, adding that the assailants were not trying to free the patients but did not want the quarantine there.

“It was an attack from people afraid of Ebola,” Collins was quoted as saying. “Everybody is afraid.”

In the week through to Aug. 13, Ebola has killed at least 1,145 people in four African nations, including Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Guinea, where the epidemic is known to have started in March, according to Reuters.

The actual toll may be far higher since healthcare workers have no access to remote areas believed to be affected by the disease, the report said.

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CG

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