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Liberia is the country where more deaths have been registered as a consequence of the Ebola outbreak hitting Western Africa, where also Guinea, Nigeria and Sierra Leone are among the most affected. Over 1400 people have died from Ebola this year in these four countries and over 2600 cases have been reported.

Monrovia, capital of Liberia, is the area that has been affected the most. Ten days ago, Real World Radio received information that accounted for the seriousness of the situation in the country: local communities are getting desperate after waiting two or three days for ambulances to help the people showing symptoms; people afraid of being infected with the Ebola virus walk to specialized health centers where they are requested to quarantine themselves in their own homes, families with their dead relatives inside their houses are advised not to leave their homes or enter the room where their dead relative is. A nightmare.

The Sustainable Development Institute – Friends of the Earth Liberia, the Foundation for Community Initiatives, Save My Future Foundation and Social Entrepreneurs for Sustainable Development launched the Community Awareness and Support Team (CST) to try to slow down and reverse the spread of Ebola in Liberia.

Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) has launched an urgent action to send economic support to Liberia in order to support the efforts for disinfectants, soaps and Ebola prevention kits to reach the affected communities

This is an emergency initiative that aims to distribute information about Ebola and hygiene supplies to around 10,000 people until September 30. Disinfectants, soap and prevention kits are some of the things needed the most. The idea is supported on the grassroots work and the trust built among the founders of the initiative and local communities.

Real World Radio interviewed Executive Director of the Foundation for Community Initiatives, Julie Weah, who highlighted the urgent need to raise awareness on the local communities of Liberia so that they understand the seriousness of the disease, because there is some kind of “denial” among them.

Weah recognized that the Liberian organizations are getting ready to “carry out an intense work” because they have been also caught unaware by the Ebola outbreak. She also made reference to the serious situation experienced by the people in quarantine.

About the actions by the national government, Weah said that they have been completely overwhelmed by the situation and therefore they don´t have the necessary capacity to carry out the raising awareness work required.

For this reason, among other things, the support by the international community is key. Our interviewee made reference to the help that has arrived from abroad, but highlighted that Liberia needs a greater “coordinated international effort” to overcome this health crisis.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the staff present in the affected countries has evidence of the fact that the number of reported cases and deaths underestimates the scale of the outbreak. They warn that the crisis is advancing rapidly and that the international support is inadequate.

“While we wait for international help, we can do a lot ourselves. Otherwise, help might be too late for thousands of Liberians”, said the coordinator of the Sustainable Development Institute – Friends of the Earth Liberia, Nora Bowier, in the action launched by FoEI.

2014 Real World Radio / Amigos de la Tierra
Image: EC/ECHO/Jean-Louis Mosser