Liberia Anguished over Isolation by African Neighbors

first_imgShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) The WHO further emphasized that official border closures would constrain resources to address the epidemic and would not stop all means of travel outside of affected areas. “Many of those who have now isolated Liberia have benefited from its friendship in the past. When the world found it fashionable and acceptable to ostracize them, Liberia welcomed them and was despised for it. But we were proud of what we were able to do for them.” The Foreign Minister commended the African Union (AU), which is expected to soon dispatch a military medical personnel team to Ebola affected countries including Liberia. The AU team is expected to comprise doctors, professional nurses, infection control officers, social workers, medical data management experts, among others. “How do we get the supplies we need?” Brown wondered. “Aid workers coming in to help us are coming from afar. They also come in rotations. He described the isolation of the Mano River Union as being “against the African spirit and that of African solidarity”, but nonetheless expressed the confidence that Liberia would weather this storm as it has others. Regional airlines such as Gambia Bird, Ghana Airways and Arik Air have halted flights to Monrovia in the wake of th outbreak of the Ebola virus, as have international carriers. British Airways has suspended flights to Monrovia. Delta’s flights will be suspended as of August 31.  SN Brussels had recently suspended its service to Liberia because landing in Liberia would have caused other countries to reject the Belgian carrier. The airline announced later Tuesday night that it had sorted out the issue, and that flights would resume Thursday, August 28.  Ivory Coast, Liberia’s neighbor to the east which still has refugees in Liberia since its civil conflict a few years ago, rejected a vessel that had docked at the Freeport of Monrovia.  While commending all countries, institutions, and individuals that have contributed towards the fight against the Ebola disease in Liberia and other affected countries, Minister Ngafuan also commended all African countries that have already contributed or communicated intentions to contribute to the fight against the disease.center_img The Foreign Minister was not the only Liberian official to register his disappointment with the isolation of the affected nations. Information Minister, Lewis Brown, addressing newsmen in Monrovia Tuesday, also recalled a time when Liberia came to the aid of other countries.  Minister Brown, too, could only have been referring to South Africa, during whose apartheid struggle many comrades (including Nelson Mandela) traveled on Liberian passports and took refuge here.  For other countries to isolate Liberia — rejecting ships that have docked in Liberia, canceling flights and shutting down businesses — is “unfair, unjust and un-African,” Brown contended. Even close neighbors, Brown said, have turned their backs on Liberia.  “In these difficult moments in our countries,” Ngafuan asserted, “we expect our African brothers and sisters across the globe to take actions that will complement measures already undertaken by the affected countries with a view to speedily eradicating the disease. Actions grounded primarily in paranoia may, instead of aiding affected countries, lead to blanket stigmatization of citizens from these countries and may make it doubly difficult for affected countries to effectively combat the Ebola disease.” The Government of Liberia is not taking lightly what it sees as the ostracizing of the three nations affected by the Ebola virus — Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.Addressing foreign newsmen over the weekend, Liberia’s Foreign Minister, Augustine K. Ngafuan, recalled a time “when certain African nations were ravaged by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.” Liberia, he said, did not shut its doors for fear of contagion. The Foreign Minister could only have been referring to one nation — South Africa — the latest African nation to close its borders to passengers traveling from the Mano River Union. Ngafuan also reminded newsmen that the Ebola virus used to be known as an East African disease before it suddenly surfaced in the West African rainforest. “As we speak,” he pointed out, “it has gone right back to Zaire. Who knows where it will go next?”Ngafuan said 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. The WHO has been emphatic in its warning against the imposition of air and sea restrictions: “If you try to shut down air travel and sea travel, you risk affecting to a huge extent the economy, people’s livelihoods and their ability to get around without stopping the virus from traveling. You can’t ship goods in. Sometimes these goods are basic staples people need to survive — food and fuel,” said WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl.  He made specific mention of the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) which has already dispatched a five-member team of medical experts to Liberia. He also commended the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for committing US$500,000 to aid Liberia’s fight against the deadly virus. The Government of the Kingdom of Morocco also rceived commendation for continuing flights of Royal Air Maroc (the Moroccan national carrier) to Monrovia and Freetown.last_img read more

Several Arrested for Lawlessness

first_imgThe Liberian National Police (LNP) yesterday arrested several people in the Fish Market for their alleged involvement in lawless acts along the Tubman Boulevard.Deputy Police Commissioner for Public Safety, Nelson Freeman, told the Daily Observer that the arrest of an unspecified number of men came when they allegedly converged near the main road and blocked traffic with sticks, iron and heavy rocks.According to Commissioner Nelson, those involved in the unauthorized street demonstration claimed they were affected by flood and wanted their plight to be addressed.He said most of those involved were criminals who are hiding between VAMOMA House and an adjacent fence, who had decided to cause chaos in the wake of the flood disaster.Commissioner Freeman noted that the flood had no connection with blocking traffic or taking to the street to demonstrate, and because this lawless act was allegedly committed by the men, they were detained and will later be sent to court for prosecution.The disruption was planned near President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s residence where flood victims converged to complain about cause of the flood. They attributed the causes to the President’s fence and work done at the Old Road junction by the Ministry of Public Works.As community dwellers strived to get their belongings out of the water and find safety in other locations in the Fish Market Community, scores of them angrily approached the fence and began to break it without permission.During the course of their action, some of them were arrested by the Emergency Response Unit (ERU) and taken to an unknown location.Mr. Seh S. Barclay, an elder in the community, told this newspaper that the mob was not out for violence but were calling on the President to see reason to solve the drainage problem as President and Mother to bring relief to community members.Mr. Barclay and other community leaders were heard cautioning the young people to deviate from violence and wait on the elders to approach the issue peacefully; but the intransigent youths would not listen as they shouted anti-Sirleaf slogans.Scores of affected mothers in the Fish Market Community alleged that one of the causes of flood in their community was poor work done by Ministry of Public Works at the Old Road junction near the President’s residence.The women, who would not give their names, told the Daily Observer that besides the blocking of the waterway by the President’s fence, Public Works stockpiled dirt down the stream at the Old Road junction, blocking the water from freely flowing.The women also said sand mining at the beach was threatening residents with water disasters in the community.According to them, they regularly see some security personnel escorting trucks to the beach taking sand and selling it out.Nevertheless, the angry women called on the Government to see reason to urgently address their plight and also release their children who had been arrested.The President’s residence itself was also flooded especially on the road leading to the compound.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more