FrontPageAfrica (Monrovia)

27 August 2014

Liberia: Robert Sirleaf Identifies With Quarantined West Pointers

Photo: MSF
Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is rapidly scaling up its operations in Liberia.

Monrovia — The Robert A. Sirleaf Foundation (RASF) has presented 50 bags of rice, 200 bags (containing sachets) of water and assorted food items to West Pointers, who have been quarantined since August 20, as the war on Ebola rages unabated.

Robert believes that contributing whatever little he can, in order for Liberia to recover from the scourge of Ebola, will make a difference. In a press statement issued August 23, Sirleaf is quoted as saying it was RASF's way of identifying with West Point and it will seek ways of helping other disadvantaged communities as efforts to contain the virus intensifies.

Robert reminded Liberians that Ebola is very real, and efforts must be made to prevent it by adhering to the do's and Don'ts. He said RASF will continue to perform community focused awareness messaging having most recently completed a series of awareness activities in Peace Island, Soul Clinic and Todee communities in Montserrado County. On August 1, Robert, a candidate in the Montserrado County senatorial election, urged lawmakers to take the war against Ebola to their various constituencies.

"Containment of this disease has to be our number one commitment. Each of us, positioned as traditional, business, political, religious, academic, youth and community leaders must come together and ensure that preventive and containment measures are effectively and efficiently implemented. Ebola has shown it cuts across borders, counties, towns, villages, households, class, age, and gender", he said.

Sirleaf in a statement further stated "That is why we all must battle it together. Since March we have had two major outbreaks of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease. The second outbreak is now killing our people with a vengeance We must stop this disease! The Ebola virus is killing us because we do not believe it is real and it is here. The numbers of reported cases, deaths, and geographic spread have made the current scale higher than ever".

Lamenting the fallen and endangered health workers, Sirleaf said: "I would like at this moment, to pay a very special tribute to the health workers that are making the ultimate sacrifice to save patients affected by the Ebola. I also express my deepest sympathy and condolences to all the victims and the families who have been affected."

He said it is sad that health workers, who are the frontline commanders against the disease, are dying with Dr. Abraham Borbor, who was a JFK chief medical officer, the latest high profile casualty.

"Doctors, nurses, and many other health workers are lying in hospitals and clinics afflicted. We will not win this war if our first line of defense remains vulnerable and if we fail to follow the advice of our health workers. We must leave no stone unturned to fight this war. Today, we join all of you in the fight against Ebola. Ebola is here; Ebola is real. Together we must fight; together we can win to contain Ebola," he added.

Meanwhile RASF, through its Disaster Recovery Empowerment Program (DREP), completed the payment of funds to victims of a recent flood disaster in West Point. The initial payment of US$15,000 in June to 100 women affected by the sea erosion was completed on August 14, according to the head of the foundation.

"I want to be grateful to the almighty God first and Hon. Robert Sirleaf. We appreciate all the good that he has been doing to us, especially the most recent donation of money when the sea carried our houses. He's a great humanitarian, and we want to be grateful to God for him," said Mariah Jaryenneh, one of the beneficiaries.

"He came the other time and gave us [bags of] rice, [bundles of] zinc and [packs of] nails. And today he's giving us money to restart our lives by engaging in businesses. So we are grateful to him," Mariah added. For Cecelia T. Nimely, Roberts can't be described for having been the only person to have identified with them following the sea erosion.

"He shared his care and he shared his love with us when we all were in the disaster. He brought [bundles of] zinc, [packs of] nails and [bags of] rice and we received everything that he sent. We even want to thank him for the money he sent. As he loves us; we also love him," said Cecelia. Moore Johnson, an eminent resident of the township, was one of the few men who benefited.

"I am very grateful to God and Robert Sirleaf. If we had people like this in the country, we will not experience things that we are experiencing now. Robert Sirleaf is always on our side. He has a team structure in the community and we received everything he sent" said Moore.

Moore also said "I received rice, zinc and nails and other materials. Imagine he has a scholarship team in place to have our children placed on scholarship, those of us that were victimized by the sea, by the time school opens. Even with the Ebola, he brought some buckets for us to help us wash our hands to be Ebola free. We thank God for that".

At the completion of the second phase and the go-ahead from the Ministry of Education for schools to reopen; phase three will go into effect. The final of DREP and phase three will be for RASF to pay one year recovery tuition for those families' children who were affected. RASF continues impact lives through economic development and project initiatives to slum communities and its people.

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