A THREE-DAY national fast has been held in Liberia by thousands
of Christians in response to the Ebola virus which has devastated
A national Christian task force on Ebola - made up of several
different church denominations - was set up in September. In a
statement, it said that the fast would bring "healing and
The Revd David Benito, speaking for the task force, said: "God
has said that this fast, if done accordingly, will bring Liberia
healing and restoration and the destruction of walls and barriers.
We have done multiple fasts in recent times . . . and we will do
many more when required."
Mr Benito, speaking at a news conference reported by Reuters,
said that "Ebola is a virus from the devil. It's killing us because
we have turned our back on God."
Liberia, along with Guinea and Sierra Leone, has suffered worst
in the outbreak which has now killed nearly 5000 people in West
Africa, 2400 of them in Liberia. About 85 per cent of Liberia's
population of four million are Christian, and about 12 per cent are
Faith leaders across the region have been using their position
to spread important messages about halting the spread of the virus.
As most public gatherings are banned, places of worship are one of
the few places where people gather and can be given information
about the outbreak, as well as supplies such as hygiene equipment.
Traditional funeral practices have been highlighted as one of the
greatest causes of the continued spread of the disease. As a
result, faith-based agencies are working with Christian and Muslim
leaders to teach communities about the importance of safe but
The Roman Catholic aid agency CAFOD is working with priests,
imams, and traditional faith-leaders to spread the word about
hand-washing and safe sanitation, and distribute hygiene kits. Its
church partners are promoting safe burials and supplying food to
Bishop Anthony Borawah, from the CAFOD partner Caritas Liberia,
in Gbarnga, Liberia, said: "It is the poor who are the Church's
priority. This disease makes ordinary human kindness impossible -
like putting your arm around someone who is crying. The key to
survival is to keep our humanity intact in the face of this deadly
In Liberia, young radio reporters have been trained by the
Children's Radio Foundation, led by an Anglican priest, the Revd
Charlotte Bannister-Parker, to put out public-health messages to
try to prevent spread of the virus. Mrs Bannister-Parker said:
"Thanks to the other appeals, people are getting buckets and soap
and protective clothing. . . Our radio messages come in at a
crucial point in that educational process."