1000 New Cases; Liberian Deaths March Backwards
No Signs Of Life In Villages Near Capitol Of Sierra Leone
FREETOWN (BBC) --- I briefly visited Sierra Leone, one of the three most affected countries along with Liberia and Guinea, this week.
I flew by helicopter over one of the worst affected areas, the district of Port Loko just north of the coastal capital Freetown.
Other journalists who have been in this district, but on the ground, have reported finding abandoned villages with dead or dying Ebola patients in them, the healthy having fled in fear or in search of food.
So I looked carefully out of the helicopter window.
Even from this height it is usually possible to see signs of normal life.
Typical ones are smoke from cooking fires and colorful daily laundry draped over bushes to dry.
But in a large number of villages there were no signs of life.
I've just received a message from the headmaster of a school in the Liberian capital Monrovia.
The immediate area around his school hasn't been hit by Ebola, but with businesses and government offices closed to try to contain the spread, many people haven't been able to work.
As the headmaster put it "no job no money" and parents in his area have found it impossible to feed their children properly.
"Our teachers are all healthy", he said, in that understated way of Liberians who have had more than their share of war and disasters over the years.
"Except they are in dying need of food."
As Ebola continues to rampage throughout Sierra Leone, Liberia is undergoing a notional drop in cases, except they still seem to be unable to get their information to the UN on time.
(Reuters) MONROVIA - Liberia's President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said on Thursday she would not seek an extension to a state of emergency imposed in August over Ebola, which has hit the country harder than any other this year.The decision effectively ends the state of emergency that officially expired earlier this month, though Sirleaf said a night curfew remains in force. The emergency had allowed authorities to restrict movement in areas hard hit by the virus.So with "only" 300 new cases in the last week (more than they had in the entire country in late July) Liberia figures they may as well just let people go anywhere they want. You figure out whether this is because Ebola is going away, or whether it's because they recognize that Ebola is everywhere, and their "state of emergency" did nothing to prevent that.
Miraculously, as their Ebola cases increase, Liberia's Ebola deaths decrease day after day.
Presumably, at the rate their going, they can erase their way to being Ebola-free by New Year's, except for all those troublesome bodies.
Given the imminent famine and starvation complications, it seems pretty evident that both nations are willing to lie about the epidemic in order to try and secure food shipments and trade.
I would therefore have to call the ongoing numbers reported by the UN increasingly fanciful week after week, and suggest they pull the other leg, as it has bells on it.
And in less than a few days, Mali went from "almost" Ebola-free, to being amidst a blossoming outbreak, as an infected grand imam was taken to Mali's capitol of Bamako, died there of Ebola, and infected a doctor and nurse, as well as most of his own family, and now potentially nearly 300 mourners, including those who (yet again) washed his Ebola-ridden corpse in obedience to funeral ritual.
People Determined To Commit Suicide Are Going To Succeed: Example # 5001 and counting.