MS Risk Blog

Calm Restored to Liberian Neighbourhood after Clashes Erupt

Posted on in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone title_rule

On Thursday, calm returned to a neighbourhood in Liberia’s capital city after clashes erupted between residents and security forces on Wednesday. Fighting broke out just hours after Liberia’s President announced that the neighbourhood would be sealed off in what is the government’s latest attempt at halting the spread of Ebola.

Four residents in a quarantined Ebola-hit neighbourhood in the Liberian capital were injured Wednesday after clashes erupted between residents and police. On the ground sources have reported that the violence erupted after security forces entered the area in a bid to evacuate a government official and his family from the West Point neighbourhood of Monrovia. Soldiers opened fire and used tear gas on protesting crowds as they evacuated the state official.

Clashes erupted hours after Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf announced that troops and police were sealing off the impoverished neighbourhood, with no one allowed to leave or enter the area. Many residents of West Point, which is located on a peninsula in the seaside capital, now fear that they will be cut off from food as many market traders are no longer to enter the neighbourhood. On the ground sources reported late Wednesday that food prices began to rise just hours after the announcement was made. While the government has promised to ensure food deliveries, so far no such deliveries have been made. The area however remained quiet Wednesday evening despite a night-time curfew imposed. Dolo Town, which is located to the east of the capital city, has also been quarantined while a night-time curfew has been imposed.

New figures released by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday have indicated that the death toll from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is now at least 1,350 people. The latest figures also indicate that the deaths are mounting the fastest in Liberia, which now accounts for at least 576 of the deaths. A statement released by the UN health agency also warned, “countries are beginning to experience supply shortages, including fuel, food and basic supplies.” Supply shipments have been affected as a number of airlines and shipping services have halted transport to the worst affected capitals of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

On Thursday, South Africa became the latest country to issue a ban on non-citizens travelling from the three West African countries that have been affected by the worst Ebola outbreak. A statement released by the health ministry declared “a total travel ban for all non-citizens travelling from these high risk countries,” which refers to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The statement added that all South Africans returning home from these areas will undergo strict screening. Government officials have also barred non-essential travel to the three countries. Despite having two scares in recent weeks, after a South African man returning from Liberia and a Guinean woman displayed Ebola-like symptoms, South Africa has so far been Ebola-free as both patients tested negative the deadly virus. Precautions are now being taken as Johannesburg is a major hub for air travel between southern Africa and the rest of the continent.

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