SUFFERERS from of the Ebola virus in West Africa believe that
"God has forsaken them", a Liberian Roman Catholic bishop, the Rt
Revd Anthony Fallah Borwah, has said.
Bishop Borwah was prevented from attending Pope Francis's recent
synod on the family because of the travel ban on countries affected
by the virus.
He urged his fellow bishops, and the Church, to remember that it
was the poor who are their priority, and said that whole families
were being "decimated".
Speaking to the US Catholic News Service, he said: "We are
losing our humanity in the face of Ebola. . . This disease makes
impossible ordinary human kindnesses, such as putting your arm
around someone who is crying."
His diocese of Gbarnga is working on food distribution, as the
price of rice and other basic foods has risen sharply as a result
of the outbreak of the virus.
He said that there was "a lot of anger" among Liberians, mostly
aimed at people in positions of leadership and power, as well as "a
feeling that God has forsaken us again".
Churches and charities across West Africa have been involved in
spreading messages about hygiene and other measures to prevent the
spread of the virus, which has now killed more than 4500
The Dean of Trinity Cathedral in Monrovia, Liberia, the Very
Revd Herman Browne, has just emerged from self-imposed quarantine
because of the virus, after his wife came into contact with it
through a friend.
Dean Browne urged his congregation to stay vigilant, and not to
hide sick family members who had the virus. Worshippers sanitise
their hands before entering the cathedral, and consecrated
communion wafers are distributed with tweezers.
In the capital of Sierra Leone, Freetown, the Anglican Church
has given land for the construction of an Ebola isolation unit next
to the Ola During Children's Hospital.
At the handing over of the land, the chairman of the Diocesan
Development, Estate, and Enterprise Board, Andrew Karmoh Keili,
said: "The Anglican diocese of Freetown is pleased to contribute to
the national fight against Ebola by this offer, especially as the
Ola During Hospital is the only children's referral hospital in the
Christian Aid has warned that widespread hunger among large
swaths of the population is undermining efforts to quarantine all
those who have come into contact with the virus.
Christian Aid's humanitarian programmes manager, Adrian Ouvry,
said: "Households, neighbourhoods, and even entire districts have
been isolated in Sierra Leone.
"To break the chain of transmission, you have to limit people's
movements, but it is counter-productive to restrict their movement
without addressing their basic needs. Endemic poverty, increased
food prices, and limited support to affected communities are
forcing people to leave quarantined homes to fend for their
families - increasing the chances of transmitting the virus to
"Governments and aid agencies must recognise that quarantine
will only be effective if those who are isolated are guaranteed a
sufficient and constant supply of nutritious food and clean water.
Otherwise, the issue of hunger and food security will undermine the
success of quarantine measures."
The World Food Programme has begun providing emergency
food-assistance to more than a million people in Guinea, Sierra
Leone, and Liberia.
The World Health Organization said this week that serum made
from the blood of Ebola survivors should be available to treat
infected patients in Liberia in weeks; a vaccine is likely to be
available by January.