Report from Monrovia - Letter from Mike Weah, the Liberian Librarian
Today is a sunny Sunday in Monrovia. About five major hospitals are closed and are gradually planning to reopen. Catholic hospital, one of the largest, was massively hit by the Ebola virus. A number of her staff including doctors were affected. The hospital chief administrator was the first to die. It is closed but there are still Ebola patients(nurses) on the wards and bodies in the morgue. The "rapid response unit" has been unable to transfer the patients because of lack of space at the only two over crowded official isolated centers in the whole country. Also, they claimed that they don't have the vehicle to pick up the bodies from the morgue.
Many communities are experiencing this problem. There was rioting on Saturday in one of the nearby communities because the Ebola bodies had not been picked up for days. The police was called in. Law and order is becoming a challenged even though a State of Emergency has been declared in Liberia. Travel around the country has been drastically restricted and the army and police are out to enforce. We live in a part of Monrovia called Old Road, just about a 7-10 minute walk from the Catholic Hospital. There is a big open air market here on the Old Road where we do our shopping for local food stuff. Because of lack of food and other needed items, an Ebola patient may decide to leave the hospital and come to the market to purchase something. Then All hell would break up in this area.
Today being Sunday, my wife Yvonne went to church. She took along a stack of buckets with faucets to be used for the washing of hands. The funding to purchase the buckets was provided by members of her church who are now living in Minnesota. Twenty-four buckets were distributed to the economically challenged members of the church and others in that community. WE-CARE (a literacy foundation and Library that Weah founded and runs) provided some flyers on ways to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus.