In traumatized Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, Ebola chaos

EbolaAUGUST8

The images and reports from Liberia, hard hit by a historic Ebola outbreak, are starting to recall scenes from post-apocalyptic films such as “Contagion” and “World War Z.”

Number of cases: 516. Number of dead: 282. That, according to the latest data from the World Health Organization, which was Aug. 4.

There are bodies in the streets. People are afraid to bury the dead.

Those who are afraid are smart. Ebola is most contagious after it has killed its host.

In Monrovia, the nation’s capital, people are lining up at banks. People are hoarding food. People are fleeing.

Soldiers have quarantined neighborhoods.

Schools are closed. So are some borders.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf declared a state of emergency – for the next 90 days.

She’s asked people to pray and fast. Religious leaders would also pray for health care workers and “against any form of witchcraft activity used to spread Ebola virus,” she said.

“We are calling on all Liberians to join in this time of true national repentance and prayer against the Ebola virus,” said priest Jervis Witherspoon, spiritual adviser to Johnson, according to Agence France-Presse. “We believe, in accordance to the scripture, that God will hear our prayer, forgive our sins and heal the land.”

The United States has advised citizens not to travel to the country, and sent the families of its diplomats home.

Those treating the infected are becoming infected themselves — and walking off the job.

“People are scared. People are traumatized,” Lewis Brown, Liberia’s information minister, told the Wall Street Journal. “When you see your colleagues, your co-workers succumb to the disease… the first reaction is for people to walk away.”


A Liberian woman weeps over the death of a relative from Ebola in the Banjor Community on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia, on Aug. 6, 2014. (AHMED JALLANZO/EPA)

It’s bad — and in Sierra Leone, things are worse.

Number of dead: 286. Number of cases: 691.

Dead body management” teams have been created to deal with the mounting corpses.

A state of emergency has been declared.

An “enforced holiday” on Monday sent everyone home.

The hardest hit areas — Kenema, a diamond trading hub, and Kailahan — are totally locked down. Almost a million people live there. “No one knew we would be cut off like this,” Abu Bakhar Shaw, a shop owner in downtown Kenema told Newsweek Cars line up at checkpoints, but can’t get out.

A hospital in Kenema, an epicenter of the infection, stands empty. “Don’t touch the walls!” warned a Western medical technician. “Totally infected.” People are afraid to die at the hospital — they see it as a death trap, the New York Times reported. Instead they are dying in the community, five or six per day, increasing the risk the infection will spread.

Soldiers in riot gear are blocking roads to some infected districts — 750 were deployed to keep people quarantined. There are 16 checkpoints on major roads.

Armed soldiers have surrounded homes of the infected, isolating them for weeks at a time. Houses are being searched to make sure the sick are quarantined.

People don’t trust advice from medical workers and doctors. Some have stormed clinics to reclaim their sick relatives.

Prices are rising. The cost of rice is up by 30 percent. The cost of salt doubled in 24 hours.

Cases have been recorded in all but one of 12 districts.

Some of the sick manage to survive.

A Saudi businessman who had symptoms of Ebola died Wednesday after a recent business trip to the country.


Volunteers lower a corpse into a grave in Kailahun on Aug. 2, 2014. (Tarik Jasarevic/WHO via Reuters)

Then there’s Guinea.

Number of dead: 363. Number of cases: 495.

In Conakry, the capital, a man who collapsed in the street went without help for five hours, the Telegraph reported.

“Let them come and take him from here because we are afraid,” said a witness.

When police came, they left him there.

Gail Sullivan covers business for the Morning Mix blog.
Justin Moyer is the deputy editor of the Morning Mix.
SECTION: {section=national, subsection=null}!!!
INITIAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, comments_period=14, defaultsort=reverseChronological, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=2, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=7, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!!

UGC FROM ARTICLE: !!!

FINAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, comments_period=14, defaultsort=reverseChronological, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=2, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=7, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!
Comments
SECTION: {section=national, subsection=null}!!!
INITIAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, comments_period=14, defaultsort=reverseChronological, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=2, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=7, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!!

UGC FROM ARTICLE: !!!

FINAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, comments_period=14, defaultsort=reverseChronological, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=2, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=7, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!
Most Read National
Next Story
Fred Barbash · August 8