Ebola Plague Villages Arise As Runaway Patients Fend For Themselves
By Athena Yenko | August 19, 2014 10:02 AM EST
Health authorities tasked at attending to Ebola patients now fear that Ebola runaway patients may give rise to plague villages.
The patients escape the health care facility in Monrovia, Liberia, on Saturday following attacks to the facility. People threw stones to the quarantine facility, looted for medical equipments and had some patients removed from the building.
Health workers wearing protective clothing prepare before carrying an abandoned dead body presenting with Ebola symptoms at Duwala market in Monrovia August 17 2014. To try to control the Ebola epidemic spreading through West Africa, Liberia has quarantined remote villages at the epicentre of the virus, evoking the "plague villages" of medieval Europe that were shut off from the outside world.
Mike Noyes, head of humanitarian response at ActionAid UK, said that some of the patients who chose to escape the facility are now wandering into other villages as they fend for themselves.
"There's a risk that these places become plague villages," Noyes said.
Liberian National Police spokesman Sam Collins said that the aggressors attack the facility because they do not want the quarantine to stay within their village.
"It was an attack from people afraid of Ebola. Everybody is afraid," Collins told CNN.
Volunteer workers described the situation similar with the civil war.
The place was desolate, Adolphus Scott, a worker for UN child agency UNICEF description went.
Fear of Ebola had also caused some people to cast judgement against those who survived the disease.
Joseph Gbembo, a patient who survived from the virus, said that the whole community avoids interaction and had blamed him for spreading the virus within their neighbourhood.
Gbembo, who is taking care of ten children under five years-old and supports five widows of his relatives who died of the virus, said that his life now becomes more tragic. He said no food or healthcare from the government was given for the children.
Tarnue Karbbar, a volunteer for charity Plan International, said that if medication, food and water remain scarce, people will be forced to wander to other villages to get food. This will lead for the Ebola virus to spread further.
Neighbouring Guinea and Sierra Leone had already set up checkpoints to establish a cross-border quarantine zone of roughly 20,000 square kilometers. Information Minister Lewis Brown said that access to this region is now limited to medical workers.
The Australian Government had strongly advised for travelers to reconsider their need for travel to Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone due to Ebola outbreak in the regions.
"All travel advisories are kept under close review by the Government. I reiterate that Australians travelling to Ebola-affected areas in West Africa should familiarise themselves with the travel advice on my Department's website, register their details on Smartraveller before departing Australia and contact their insurance provider to check their details of coverage," Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said.
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