4 September 2014

Liberia: Ebola Jeopardizes Humanitarian Work in Liberia

press release

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Liberia is now the worst affected country by the Ebola virus. The total number of cases has passed 1000. The virus itself is not the only problem. In an emergency situation like this, the most vulnerable part of the population is also the most exposed and this crisis seriously challenges the humanitarian efforts, says the Danish Refugee Council.

Experts agree that Liberia is facing the most serious outbreak the world has seen so far and that it will take time to rid the country of the Ebola virus. Humanitarian actors such as the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) are struggling to meet the humanitarian needs in a dire and complex situation as the government lacks capacity and resources.

"The epidemic in West-Africa is not yet under control and Liberia lacks the resources and capacity to ensure containment and handling the humanitarian consequences of the crisis. Basic medical needs are not covered, there are no proper mechanisms in place to help families who are quarantined, the availability of food is becoming a problem and the prices are increasing," says Martine Villeneuve Country Director for the Danish Refugee Council in Liberia.

Many International NGOs have closed their offices, suspended their activities or are working from remote countries. The number of expatriates continues to decrease, but humanitarian needs are growing.

"Even as an organization not directly involved in health work, we are experiencing challenges in relation to our work - this is not just a health crisis and it is really important for us to uphold the services to the vulnerable displaced. Moreover, as the context is really sensitive and the crisis multidimensional, we need to ensure at least protection monitoring and basic protection services as most of the NGOs have stopped their work in Monrovia," says Martine Villeneuve.

DRC expects to resume regular activities in South East Liberia in one or two months, if the logistical support can be provided. For the North of Liberia, where the epidemic is stronger; the activities will resumed after an assessment, in 3 months or more.

"We continue to manage Little Wlebo Refugee Camp. Also, a protection team will be working in Monrovia, but security in the areas is our principal concern and we have had to suspend parts of our programs," says Martine Villeneuve.

DRC has been present in Liberia since 1998.

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