Inside the Ebola quarantine in Liberia

A man lies under a car after being put there in detention by the Liberian army on the second day of the government's Ebola quarantine on their neighbourhood of West Point on August 21, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. An army officer said that he was showing symptoms of Ebola and was caught trying to escape from West Point. (John Moore/Getty Images)

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The quarantine in the slum of West Point is driving street prices sky high, making an already bad situation worse. But the government says its necessary in its attempts to get ahead of the Ebola outbreak. Today we get an insiders look at West Point, and talk about the ethical implications of sealing 75,000 people in a cramped area that's rife with the deadly Ebola virus.


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A West Point resident looks on from closed gates on the second day of the government's Ebola quarantine in Monrovia, Liberia. The government delivered bags of rice, beans & cooking oil to residents. (John Moore/Getty Images)


"The government love their people and they want to see their people doing well and to stay healthy and to make sure that this disease is serious."

Meata Flowers, West Point Commissioner

Last week, Liberian authorities implemented a nation-wide curfew and put the entire West Point district under quarantine. That's roughly 75,000 people, sealed into a densely-packed slum. No one gets in. No one gets out.


Ebola outbreak: Why Liberia's quarantine in West Point slum will fail -- CBC News


Since the outbreak was identified in March, Ebola has taken more than 1,400 lives in the West African countries of Nigeria, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. But Liberia has been hardest hit, with at least 1,000 cases and 624 deaths recorded so far.

The few images that are emerging from quarantined West Point are especially harrowing. They show a frightened, confused population trapped with little access to food and water. This forced containment suggests that Liberia is becoming increasingly desperate in its effort to limit the spread of Ebola -- a disease that, while difficult to get, is fatal up to ninety per cent of the time, according to the World Health Organization.

John Moore is a staff photographer with Getty Images who's had rare access to the community of West Point since the quarantine has been put in effect. The pictures he's taken there show the raw emotion of the situation. John Moore joined us earlier, on the line in Monrovia.



Putting entire neighbourhoods under quarantine may seem like a drastic measure, but as the Ebola outbreak continues to devastate Liberia and the region, finding a solution to the spread is paramount. A key part of that solution is reaching out to those communities most affected, urban and rural.

Aphaluck Bhatiasevi is with the World Health Organization. She works with communities to determine the best way to fight against Ebola, and how people can best help each other with information and resources. We reached her in Montrovia, Liberia.


Health professionals around the world are watching the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, and how local authorities deal with it. Dr. Kamran Khan is a scientist and physician who specializes in infectious diseases. He has been a policy advsior for the Canadian government, the World Health Organization and the US Centres for Disease Control.


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This segment was produced by The Current's Naheed Mustafa and Howard Goldenthal.

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