In the West Point slum in Liberia's capital Monrovia, the scene of
violent clashes with the army on Wednesday after the area was
quarantined to curb the spread of Ebola, hundreds of people jostled
their way towards trucks loaded with water and rice.
Police used canes to beat back some locals while aid workers helped
others dip their fingers in ink to record their ration.
"I ain't eat since yesterday. I have four young children and none of
us eat. I feel bad," said Hawa Saah, a pregnant 23-year-old resident
of West Point, speaking in the pidgin English common to this part of
The World Food Programme says deliveries of basic supplies to more
than 1 million people across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are
intended to avoid a food crisis in those West African countries,
where more than 1,300 people have died from Ebola in the worst
outbreak of the disease in history.
The World Health Organisation (WHO), the United Nations' health
agency, has repeatedly said that it does not recommend travel or
trade restrictions for Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria -
the countries affected by the epidemic that began in March. Those
countries are starting to suffer shortages of fuel, food and basic
supplies due to these measures, it warned this week.
Still, Chad's Prime Minister Kalzeubet Payimi Deubet said on
Thursday his country would close its border with Nigeria to prevent
Ebola entering the country.
"This decision will have an economic impact on the region but it is
imperative for public health needs," he said.
Nigeria has reported 15 cases - the lowest number in the four
affected countries - and the WHO has expressed "cautious optimism"
that the spread can be stopped.
South Africa said on Thursday it was banning all travelers from
Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone from entering its territory,
barring its own citizens.
GUINEA APPEALS TO AIRLINES
The precautions follow measures from commercial airlines such as
Kenya Airways and Gambia Bird which have suspended flights to
affected countries, despite new testing procedures at airports. The
United States and several European countries have also advised
against non-essential travel to the region.
Guinea's President Alpha Conde met with airlines on Wednesday in an
attempt to persuade them to resume normal service to the country.
"No Guinean has left the country to export Ebola elsewhere. Even the
WHO has recognized that Guinea's measures are sufficient," he said.
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The WHO said on Thursday it would convene talks early next month on
potential treatments and vaccines to contain the outbreak.
Ebola has struck hardest in countries with health care systems
ill-equipped to cope with an epidemic.
A ministry of health report in Liberia, the country where infection
is rising fastest, showed 60 new suspected, probable and confirmed
cases for just one day on Aug. 19. Two of them were health workers.
In an indication of the strain on local populations, security forces
in Monrovia fired live rounds and tear gas on Wednesday as crowds
sought to break quarantine restrictions.
A 15-year-old-boy receiving treatment for gun shot wounds later
died, the medical director of the hospital treating him said on
The WHO said on Thursday that an hemorrhagic illness has killed at
least 70 people in Democratic Republic of Congo but denied that the
illness was Ebola.
Ireland's health service said it was testing the body of a person,
who had died after recently returning from Africa, for the Ebola
(Additional reporting by Madjiasra Nako in N'djamena, Saliou Samb in
Conakry, Joe Brock in Johannesburg; Writing by Emma Farge; Editing
by Susan Fenton)
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