The Legal Consultant of the Liberia Law Society, Liberia’s renowned Human Rights Lawyer, Atty. Samuel Kofi Woods, II, is warning that the state of emergency in Liberia should not be used by government and its security forces as a shadow or pretext for the violation of individual and collective rights. Woods notes that a state of emergency imposed to address a health crisis should not be used to shoot people and to restrict press freedom and freedom of speech. Continue reading
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has fired 10 government officials after they failed to return home from abroad to join their compatriots fight the deadly Ebola virus disease which has claimed at least 1250 lives in the country.
Following the announcement of a state of emergency and the imposition of curfew in August, the Liberian leader ordered all government officials who had travelled outside the country to return within a week to join the government respond to the world’s worst ever Ebola outbreak in the country. Continue reading
Release: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: The Government of Kenya has announced that it would donate US$1 M (One Million United States Dollars) to aid Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea to fight against the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).
The disclosure of Kenya’s commitment to support countries worst-affected by Ebola was made by Kenyan Cabinet Secretary and its Minister of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Amina C. Mohamed when she met Liberia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan on Monday, September 8, 2014 on the margins of the Extraordinary Session of the Executive Council of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to discuss the Ebola Outbreak in Africa. Continue reading
As the Ebola virus continues to spread in Liberia, the authorities have reinforced their control over the national media in the past three weeks although the free flow of news and information is essential to controlling this public health crisis. Read entire article in English here:http://en.rsf.org/liberia-is-freedom-of-information-a-08-09-2014,46917.html In French:http://fr.rsf.org/liberia-la-liberte-de-l-information-08-09-2014,46916.html
By: D Kaihenneh Sengbeh
It was funny but serious. The message was quite clear. Everyone burst into laughter and quickly turned quiet—listening, again. The driver knew occupants of his vehicle were religiously listening. He raised the volume of the radio. Three voices sounding reminiscent of Kissi, Bassa and Fula tribes were discussing the deadly Ebola Virus disease (Ebola, for short in this article) outbreak in the country. Their discussion, humorous in nature, was focused on how the disease is contracted, prevented, and how to handle people suspected to be having the virus to avoid spread of the killer disease, among others. Continue reading
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is providing an additional $5 million to help combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The announcement brings USAID’s commitment for the Ebola response to nearly $19.6 million since the outbreak was first reported in March 2014.
Jeremy Konyndyk, Director of USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, announced the additional funding in Monrovia, Liberia, during his three-day visit with Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Konyndyk and Frieden arrived in Monrovia on August 24 to assess the impact of the Ebola outbreak first-hand, review response activities, and discuss disease prevention and treatment strategies with Liberian officials.
“It will take a coordinated effort by the entire international community to contain the spread of Ebola,” said Konyndyk. “The United States is working closely with the World Health Organization, the governments of affected countries, and other partners on the ground to identify the greatest needs and deploy critical resources to affected areas.”
The additional funding will be used to provide health equipment and emergency supplies, train and support health care workers on infection control and case management, support public outreach campaigns, and help build the capacity of local health care and emergency response systems.
The announcement comes just days after USAID airlifted more than 16 tons of medical supplies and emergency equipment to Liberia, including 10,000 sets of personal protective equipment (PPE), water treatment systems, water tanks capable of storing 10,000 liters each, and 100 rolls of plastic sheeting, which can be used in the construction of Ebola treatment units. USAID deployed a multi-agency Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) on August 5 to coordinate the U.S. Government’s Ebola response efforts in West Africa. The DART has more than 25 members operating in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Liberia, Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan says while it is understandable that countries not affected by the Ebola outbreak may take measures to protect their citizens, they should heed the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations which do not support travel or trade restrictions on Liberia and other countries hit by the Ebola virus. Continue reading
At least 500 people have died from the virulent Ebola virus disease in Liberia since the outbreak in March 2014, according to health officials, and two human right based organizations, the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (JPC) and the Foundation for International Dignity (FIND) have alarmed.
Addressing a press conference in Monrovia last Thursday (Aug 21) in Monrovia, the two organizations lauded the government and partners for the efforts so far in containing the virus, but said it was spreading fast.
“…Despite measures announced by the government of Liberia and commitments by the international community, we are deeply troubled by the increase in new cases of Ebola and Ebola related deaths in communities far beyond areas where the virus initially broke out,” they said in a statement. Continue reading
About 10 houses in the Ebola quarantined township of West Point have been destroyed by sea erosion, less than three months ago when scores of homes were swept away by similar disaster.
In June, severe sea erosion left several people homeless with valuable properties lost in New Kru Town and West Point Communities.
One of the affected persons of the latest incident, Madam Cynthia Wolue, told the Liberia News Agency Monday that the erosion started about 4:00 a.m. and washed away her six-bedroom house. Continue reading
A high-level delegation of U.S. medical experts and emergency responders, led by Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Tom Frieden, is in Liberia to see firsthand the impact of the Ebola outbreak, to assess response activities, and to hear from government officials, international partners, and health care workers in West Africa to see what can be done to stop the disease.
Liberia is the first stop on CDC Director Frieden’strip to the region, which will also take him to Sierra Leone and Guinea.
Dr. Frieden is accompanied by Dr. Tom Kenyon, Director of CDC’s Center for Global Health, and Jeremy Konyndyk, Director of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA).They arrived in Monrovia on August 24.
Dr. Frieden held a one-on-one meeting with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Monday, and later met with most of the members of Liberia’s National Task Force on Ebola, including President Sirleaf, Vice President Joseph Boakai, President Pro Temp of the Senate Alex Tyler, Speaker of the House Gbehzohngar Findley and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Francis S. Korkpor. Key members of the Cabinet and Senators and Representatives also attended the meeting. The discussion centered on the key challenges facing Liberia as it tries to curtail the spread of the disease.
The U.S. delegation led by Dr. Friedenwill also meet this week with Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Walter Gwenigale, Liberian health care workers and tour hospitals where Ebola patients are being treated, as well as tour a laboratory operated by the Liberian Institute for Biomedical Research (LIBR) and a mobile lab, which the U.S. Government sent to Liberia last week to improve Ebola specimen testing.
CDC Director Frieden will also hold talks this week with high-level UN officials to hear about the international community’s response to the crisis.
On August 24, the U.S. Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Ebola Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART), sent more than 16 tons of medical equipment and emergency supplies to Liberia, including:
- 10,000 sets of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE);
- Two water treatment units and two water portable water tanks, capable of holding 10,000 liters of water each;
- 100 rolls of plastic sheeting, which can used in the construction of Ebola treatment centers
The supplies will be distributed in partnership with the Liberian government, World Food Program (WFP), and local partners to places of need around Liberia.
On August 23, a cargo plane—funded by UNICEF and the DART— landed in Monrovia, carrying more than 40 tons of chlorine and 400,000 pairs of medical gloves.
A team of laboratory experts from CDC, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases is working with Liberia to set up laboratories and train more laboratory workers to expand laboratory capacity to conduct more efficient and quicker Ebola testing.
Also, members of the DART have made several assessment trips and met with officials with the Liberian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to determine how and where to expand the number of Ebola treatment centers in the country.
On August 5, USAID deployed the DART to Monrovia, Liberia and Conakry, Guinea to oversee the U.S. Government’s regional response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. On August 18, the DART announced it was sending additional staff to Sierra Leone to work with non-governmental organizations and U.N. agencies on the ground. Monrovia, Liberia is the regional hub for the U.S. government’s Ebola response activities. The DART now comprises 27 staffacross various U.S. government agencies, including USAID, CDC, the U.S. Departments of Defense and Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Forest Service.
In the first two weeks of August, CDC increased its staff in the region to battle Ebola. There are currently more than 65 CDC disease-control experts working in West Africa: 27 in Sierra Leone, 21 in Liberia,15 in Guinea and 6 in Nigeria.These experts are providing technical expertise to national public health agencies in the region to help prevent, detect, and stop the spread of Ebola.
Since the Ebola outbreak was first reported in March 2014, the U.S. Government, through USAID, has committed more than $14.5 million to the response. The funding has been used to provide more technical experts, PPE, health supplies, field laboratories and diagnostic capacity, training, and public service messaging campaigns, among other things.
In the early stages of the Ebola outbreak, the U.S. Defense Department’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), the office in charge of countering weapons of mass destruction, and the U.S. State Department also provided PPE to the Liberian government, including surgical gowns, sets of protective coveralls, boxes of protective gloves, and decontamination hand sprayers. The CDC and DTRA also sent in several teams of infectious disease experts to assist Liberian authorities to test Ebola specimens, track Ebola patients and their contacts, and to develop public awareness campaigns to try to stop the spread of the disease.