All posts by benim

UN Women Supports MOGD in Ebola Response

In support of the fight against the deadly Ebola virus in Liberia, the United Nations (UN) Women yesterday donated several anti-Ebola materials to the Ministry of Gender and Development (MOGD).

The national project manager of Women’s Economic Rights and Livelihoods, Ramon Garway, who presented the anti-Ebola materials, said this was the organization ways of contributing to the fight against the virus.

Mr. Garway said, as part of the UN in Liberia and as a strategic partner to the Gender’s Ministry, the UN Women is supporting Gender and Development Ministry with supplies for communities affected by the Ebola virus.

According to him, UN Women will continue to provide communities with anti-Ebola material especially those affected by the outbreak of the epidemic, including women and girls throughout Liberia.  

“These efforts are part of the United Nations Women in Liberia several international organization supports, including both technical and logistical supports in combating the epidemic.”

He said, “The UN Women’s donation to the fight against contains several cartoons of sanitizers, boxes of Clorox, chlorine, buckets and hundreds of bottles of mineral water.”

According to Mr. Garway, the UN Women along with the Ministry of Gender and Development is working with its network of women organizations around Liberia to prevent the spread of the virus and respond to the needs of women and girls affected.

He further explained that UN Women is a UN organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, especially those affected in such a national health crisis.

As a global champion for women and girls, the UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting women and girls needs worldwide.

 He assured the Minister of Gender and Development, Julia Duncan Cassell of supporting communities through the Ministry.

Receiving the items, Minister Julia Duncan Cassell expressed thanks and appreciation to the UN Women’s efforts in supporting the Ministry and working with affected communities in containing the virus.

She explained, “On Friday, the Ministry will conduct training of trainers workshop for women in supporting the fight against the deadly Ebola virus.

“We will train heads of organizations and expect them to go beck in their various communities to provide training also,” she said.

According to the Gender Minister, the Ministry is carrying out a Jehovah witness campaign to combating the Ebola virus, adding that, “We will be giving good packages to our community women and ensure that Ebola is contained.”

Reflections from Harbelville: A Dream Log

Successions of images, ideas, emotions can make people’s existence flash before their eyes. Perhaps then, it’s time to take stock. For me, the stock taking of my life and what I believe are cropping up in Harbelville, Margibi County at my nephew’s residence.   

My brother called me one gloomy January morning in Snellville, Georgia, to announce father’s death.  This sorrowful event occurred about eight years ago in 2006. Since weeping for “the Pa-pay” years ago, we are howling now for the state because it has endured and is still enduring some serious and somber issues. Since we love this country, these desperate times can only put us in a reflective mood. It should never again be business as usual. Can the leopard change its spots? How do we actually become LIB (Liberia Is Beautiful?)

Despite the  Ebola outbreak, curfew, chaos (armed robbery, messy education sector, high unemployment issues, greed and corruption, health care issues, environmental issues, and so on) overwhelming the homeland, I have been having recurring dreams involving my late father and a celebrated coastal country, built on education,  justice, reconciliation, peace and security. My father, Arthur Geezay Tarr Sr. was a patriot. Pa, a term of endearment, was a teacher, sheriff, and mayor of Cestos City (where the coconut trees dance with the Atlanta Ocean. This city could become a tourist paradise in Liberia).  Pa was born in the Zarflahn District, Toboe Clan, Darway Town in River Cess Territory (now River Cess County).  This Botah man never earned $100.00 monthly for any job, yet he believed in our country and people and often told us that the “me, myself, and I” mentality would not do; we had to be our brother’s keeper according to the Great Book.  Life was tough, but by his sheer shrewdness, he took care of us.

As mayor, Pa was responsible for the general management of the city, set plans and policies to improve the lot of the people but got into “political hot water” for giving the people “false hope,” which simply meant that he was doing the right and just thing; he used to say what he thought and to feel what he said. Pa wanted for the poor and the needy to be able to afford their daily meal: a big bowl of rice, fufu, or dum-boy with a piece of chicken or a piece of fish in every bowl.Was that too much to ask?

When I was eight years old, Sam six, and Nancy four, Pa taught us the multiplication tables and the Primer One Reader. One such reading passage from this book read this way:

                  “I am in go on

                   Is he to go in?

                   No, he is to go on

                   On, on we go.”

For Pa, fathering meant instructing, disciplining, and preparing us for school because he loved the world of learning. In his mind book was the great equalizer.  Nancy told me recently that her fondest memory was writing, reciting, and reading with Pa, mostly wearing dark khaki, in the front yard of our River Cess home.   “Pa loves book business,” she concluded. Just like Pa,we must care about the future through education. Because it matters, we have to prepare them to lead the people.  Wanting to make a difference by serving the children, Sister Nancy and I became teachers; she graduated from KRTTI, and I from Cuttington College.

The Coalition for Transparency and Accountability in Education (COTAE) promotes Liberian education in its very pointed and powerful Web jingles in English and local vernaculars. The jingles caution us to…Emphasis added.

“Stop corruption in education…The future of our children has to be secured. With sound education, let’s give them quality…the better people we will be…”

Education has become one of the most powerful weapons known for reducing poverty and inequality in modern societies. It is used for laying the foundation for a sustainable growth and development of any nation. Getting the students prepare so that they can move the country into the future from darkness to light. To President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, we say, follow the Strategic Roadmap for National Healing and Reconciliation (2012-2030) because it addresses the past, the present, and the future changes. Your Excellency, it has the potential to make this a better place for all Liberians alike.

 The Preamble of the Education Section Plan of Liberia (2010-2020) states: “Most of the challenges confronting education in Liberia can be traced back directly to what happens at the primary level. The successful handling of primary education issues therefore is a pre-requisite to getting education in Liberia a leading role in ensuring the development and wellbeing of the nation.” Simply put, we need a transformative educational system for the 21st Century.  Pa believed in the teaching and learning process, for he provided his eleven children with a rigorous and relevant readiness program of learning; my father was also a very busy man; Pa loved life, so he ate with gusto, too.

  Arthur G. Tarr Sr was a nice-looking yellow-skinned, opinionated, strict man with broad nose. In the 1960s, He dictated a letter to me— all of his 11 children served as his personal scribes—about greed and corruption and then sent it to the Department of Justice. President William V. S. Tubman then dispatched a team to investigate the charges. At the City Hall, Pa took center stage. Both he and his friend Joe Nelson brilliantly presented the case against the rogue politicians. The investigators swiftly rendered their final decree. The scoundrels were found guilty, removed from office, and properties confiscated and   jailed; they were then ordered to make restitution to the Department of Treasury because of their ill-gotten gains and their “brown envelops,” cheating and oppressing poor folks along the way. What a country!

Years later in 1975, as a Cuttington College graduate, I inquired about the investigation. My dear old father smiled and said, “The culprits remained in power; therefore, they blackballed us astroublemakers.” Sounds familiar? Pa then continued, “We were the Underdogs who dare to bark with the Over dogs.” I much preferred my vision then his; but, his version is the Liberian experience. My father, Saint Patrick’s drop-out, had the guts and the intellect than most college graduates. My father took on an “old order”. Of course, he boldly met his foes, but he did not win. The cards were stacked against him; the “new order” had to be deferred as a result of his marriage to Ms. Charlesetta Dunbar of Sinoe County and his ever growing family. This union was blessed with seven children; six males, namely: Joseph, Trokon, Benjamin, Lawrence, Clarence and Esau.  One female, namely: Comfort. Another Sister Beatrice lives in Bamako, Mali; she was born out of wedlock. What an educated and productive bunch they have become; the old man would be extremely proud as a peacock of the family.

My father was working on Randall Street as a tailor when he met my mother in the 1940s—a petite and an ebony woman—fresh out of a Bassa Sande Society in Ce Kay-Kay’s Town (a place so named in honor of her grandfather) in Compound #3, Grand Bassa County. Madam Pennie Kay-kay, a homemaker and prayer warrior was caring, quiet, kind, and soft-spoken.  Both My Ma and Pa divorced in the mid-1950s. Before that time, she bore him three children; two males and one female. She then remarried to one Charles S. Dean Sr. for whom she had a son, Paul. She cared for us and a host of step children at her home in Slip-Way, Monrovia.  She departed this earth last October; rest in peace dear Sweet Mother; rest in peace Pa. We remember… Thanks for the memories!

     “Hear ye, hear ye,” to use a standard sheriff  lingo, what would the old sheriff say now about this fantastic coastal country laden with spices?  Specifically, how would he view the national reconstruction exercise and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Final Report? Do we not know? Have we not heard? Over 200,000 of our citizens died during the country’s 14 years long civil war (UNDP). Recently, I heard a colleague suggest that the TRC report divided the country in two camps: for or against. I think another attitude toward the report is possible, beyond that of total embrace or total rejection. In my view, we should approach the report in a manner that is not only critical and questioning, but affirmative and sympathetic. The report did not only shed light on the past, but served as a guide to the creation of a new future. This is because I believe, along with some compatriots that the report is necessary, for it offers a critical insight into the historical and social predicaments since the founding of the republic in the 1820s till present.

As President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela remarked, “Reconciliation means working together to correct the legacy of past injustice…” Apropos to reconciling Liberia, we ought to work together against poverty, ignorance, and disease, high unemployment, illiteracy, Liberian greed and corruption, etcetera. Consequently, we must build responsive and accountable structures of governance to address most of these concerns just like some of our brethren’s. Liberians, like most humans, are allergic to change. They like to say, “This, too, is Liberia,” which really implies mediocrity and backwardness. We can do better!

A South African writer wrote in 1999, “Reconciliation is not only a process. It is a cycle that will be repeated many times.” Are we ready to do this? The goal is not to avoid pain or reality, but to deal with the never-ending quest of self-definition and negotiation required. Because of the humiliation, degradation, terrible atrocities, devastation, and much, much more during the war years (from 1989 to 1996 and from 1999 to 2003), realizing these exemplars of reconciliation would go a long way in healing the nation’s wounds and allowing truth, justice, and peace to roll like the mighty Cavalla River. Four big ideas in the report that we wholeheartedly support are as follows:

  • National Palaver Hut Forum—this process of traditional dispute resolution mechanism could be put into practice for exchanging of ideas, views and national dialogue by making it a truly Liberian institution;
  • Reparations—this process could take the form of mental health, physical health, economic, low-cost housing, educational assistance to individuals and communities devastated by the civil conflict;
  • Memorialization—a county-by-county scheme/gesture should be encouraged, organized and implemented, thus signaling to the world that we are capable of doing great things for victims and communities of the bloody war;
  • Transformation of the educational system—–Put your money where your mouth is; improve education because it is a fundamental human right. Period.

Thanks to my family and my lucky star for making me into a dreamer, and the man I am today—a bilingual educator.  We adore this country, its landscape, its cultures, and its history. As a nation, it has a million problems to solve; yet, our love for it grows deep and passionate. I can quite honestly say that my parents did breed a generation of qualified and productive children who are making their contributions to the country.

Liberia’s educational system ranks among the poorest and weakest within the region according to UNICEF.  Overcrowded classrooms with pupils sitting on the floor, combined with lack of basic equipment and teaching materials, lack of a support system, unfriendly schools, and so forth, contributing to the lack of progress in this sector. When will these problems be                                                   

alleviated?  Do you remember the time when William V. S. Tubman High School and Cuttington College used to be the guiding light of education in West Africa?

Will Ebola put the future on hold?  I hope not. This virus is controllable, and it has to be controlled for this splendid coastal country to provide quality education and national reconstruction to benefit everybody.  The TRC’s final report and Ebola permit us to be introspective and retrospective about the homeland. What a great future it could be if and only if we would give the report a hard, second look. Honor the victims who paid the ultimate price; keep their memories alive.  Also this virus is making us to cry and to have awful dreams about the beloved country. We have tons of fears and anxieties now about Liberia.  George Bernard Shaw (arguing about the power of dream) writes these heartening words: “You see things and say, why? But I dream things that never were and say, why not?” May the Almighty God bless us all.

The Author

A bilingual educator holds degrees from Liberia, France, and the United States. For more BIO info, visit google.com/+ArthurGTarr/01030910 and listenupliberia.blogspot.com

A Global Threat, A Truly Global Response

Remarks By U.S. President Barack Obama On The Ebola Outbreak, Delivered at the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, September 16, 2014

Good afternoon, everybody.  Please be seated.  I want to thank Dr. Frieden and everybody here at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for welcoming me here today.  Tom and his team just gave me an update on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, our efforts to help mobilize the international community to fight it, and the steps that we’re taking to keep people here at home safe.

Tom and his team are doing outstanding work.  Between the specialists they have on the ground in West Africa and here at headquarters, they’ve got hundreds of professionals who are working tirelessly on this issue.  This is the largest international response in the history of the CDC.  After this, I’ll be meeting with some of these men and women, including some who recently returned from the front lines of the outbreak.  And they represent public service at its very best.  And so I just want them to know how much the American people appreciate them.  Many of them are serving far away from home, away from their families.  They are doing heroic work and serving in some unbelievably challenging conditions — working through exhaustion, day and night, and many have volunteered to go back.  So we are very, very proud of them.

Their work and our efforts across the government is an example of what happens when America leads in confronting some major global challenges.  Faced with this outbreak, the world is looking to us, the United States, and it’s a responsibility that we embrace.  We’re prepared to take leadership on this to provide the kinds of capabilities that only America has, and to mobilize the world in ways that only America can do.  That’s what we’re doing as we speak.

First and foremost, I want the American people to know that our experts, here at the CDC and across our government, agree that the chances of an Ebola outbreak here in the United States are extremely low.  We’ve been taking the necessary precautions, including working with countries in West Africa to increase screening at airports so that someone with the virus doesn’t get on a plane for the United States.  In the unlikely event that someone with Ebola does reach our shores, we’ve taken new measures so that we’re prepared here at home.  We’re working to help flight crews identify people who are sick, and more labs across our country now have the capacity to quickly test for the virus.  We’re working with hospitals to make sure that they are prepared, and to ensure that our doctors, our nurses and our medical staff are trained, are ready, and are able to deal with a possible case safely.

And here I’ve got to commend everybody at Emory University Hospital.  I just had the opportunity to meet with Doctors Gartland and Ribner and members of their team and the nurses who — sorry, doctors, but having been in hospitals, I know — (laughter) — they’re the ones really doing the work.  And I had a chance to thank them for their extraordinary efforts in helping to provide care for the first Americans who recently contracted the disease in Africa.  The first two of those patients were released last month and continue to improve.  And it’s a reminder for the American people that, should any cases appear in the United States, we have world-class facilities and professionals ready to respond.  And we have effective surveillance mechanisms in place.  

I should mention, by the way, that I had a chance to see Dr. Brantly in the Oval Office this morning.  And although he is still having to gain back some weight, he looks great.  He looks strong and we are incredibly grateful to him and his family for the service that he has rendered to people who are a lot less lucky than all of us.

As we all know, however, West Africa is facing a very different situation, especially in the hardest hit countries:  Liberia, Sierra Leone, and in Guinea.  Tom and others recently returned from the region, and the scenes that they describe are just horrific.  More than 2,400 men, women and children are known to have died — and we strongly suspect that the actual death toll is higher than that.  Hospitals, clinics and the few treatment centers that do exist have been completely overwhelmed.  An already very weak public health system is near collapse in these countries.  Patients are being turned away, and people are literally dying in the streets.

Now, here’s the hard truth:  In West Africa, Ebola is now an epidemic of the likes that we have not seen before.  It’s spiraling out of control.  It is getting worse.  It’s spreading faster and exponentially.  Today, thousands of people in West Africa are infected.  That number could rapidly grow to tens of thousands.  And if the outbreak is not stopped now, we could be looking at hundreds of thousands of people infected, with profound political and economic and security implications for all of us.  So this is an epidemic that is not just a threat to regional security — it’s a potential threat to global security if these countries break down, if their economies break down, if people panic.  That has profound effects on all of us, even if we are not directly contracting the disease.

And that’s why, two months ago, I directed my team to make this a national security priority.  We’re working this across our entire government, which is why today I’m joined by leaders throughout my administration, including from my national security team.

And we’ve devoted significant resources in support of our strategy with four goals in mind.

  1. to control the outbreak.  
  2. to address the ripple effects of local economies and communities to prevent a truly massive humanitarian disaster.  
  3. to coordinate a broader global response; and
  4. to urgently build up a public health system in these countries for the future — not just in West Africa but in countries that don’t have a lot of resources generally.

Now, this is a daunting task.  But here’s what gives us hope.  The world knows how to fight this disease.  It’s not a mystery.  We know the science.  We know how to prevent it from spreading.  We know how to care for those who contract it.  We know that if we take the proper steps, we can save lives.  But we have to act fast.  We can’t dawdle on this one. We have to move with force and make sure that we are catching this as best we can, given that it has already broken out in ways that we had not seen before.  

So today, I’m announcing a major increase in our response.  At the request of the Liberian government, we’re going to establish a military command center in Liberia to support civilian efforts across the region — similar to our response after the Haiti earthquake.  It’s going to be commanded by Major General Darryl Williams, commander of our Army forces in Africa.  He just arrived today and is now on the ground in Liberia.  And our forces are going to bring their expertise in command and control, in logistics, in engineering.  And our Department of Defense is better at that, our Armed Services are better at that than any organization on Earth.

We’re going to create an air bridge to get health workers and medical supplies into West Africa faster.  We’re going to establish a staging area in Senegal to help distribute personnel and aid on the ground more quickly.  We are going to create a new training site to train thousands of health workers so they can effectively and safely care for more patients.  Personnel from the U.S. Public Health Service will deploy to the new field hospitals that we’re setting up in Liberia.  And USAID will join with international partners and local communities in a Community Care Campaign to distribute supplies and information kits to hundreds of thousands of families so they can better protect themselves.

We’re also going to build additional treatment units, including new isolation spaces and more than 1,000 beds.  And in all our efforts, the safety of our personnel will remain a top priority.  Meanwhile, our scientists continue their urgent research in the hope of finding new treatments and perhaps vaccines.  And today I’m calling on Congress to approve the funding that we’ve requested so that we can carry on with all these critical efforts.    

Today, the United States is doing even more.  But this is a global threat, and it demands a truly global response.  International organizations just have to move faster than they have up until this point.  More nations need to contribute experienced personnel, supplies, and funding that’s needed, and they need to deliver on what they pledge quickly. Charities and individual philanthropists have given generously, and they can make a big difference.  And so we’re not restricting these efforts to governmental organizations; we also need NGOs and private philanthropies to work with us in a coordinated fashion in order to maximize the impact of our response.

This week, the United States will chair an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council.  Next week, I’ll join U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to continue mobilizing the international community around this effort.  And then, at the White House, we’re going to bring more nations together to strengthen our global health security so that we can better prevent, detect and respond to future outbreaks before they become epidemics.

This is actually something that we had announced several months ago at the G7 meeting.  We determined that this has to be a top priority; this was before the Ebola outbreak.  We anticipated the fact that in many of these countries with a weak public health system, if we don’t have more effective surveillance, more effective facilities on the ground, and are not helping poor countries in developing their ability to catch these things quickly, that there was at least the potential of seeing these kinds of outbreaks.  And sadly, we now see that our predictions were correct.  It gives more urgency to this effort — a global health initiative — that we have been pushing internationally.    

Let me just close by saying this:  The scenes that we’re witnessing in West Africa today are absolutely gut-wrenching.  In one account over the weekend, we read about a family in Liberia.  The disease had already killed the father.  The mother was cradling a sick and listless five-year-old son.  Her other son, 10-years-old, was dying, too.  They finally reached a treatment center but they couldn’t get in.  And, said a relative, “We are just sitting.”

These men and women and children are just sitting, waiting to die, right now.  And it doesn’t have to be this way.    

The reality is that this epidemic is going to get worse before it gets better.  But right now, the world still has an opportunity to save countless lives.  Right now, the world has the responsibility to act — to step up, and to do more.  The United States of America intends to do more.  We are going to keep leading in this effort.  We’re going to do our part, and we’re going to continue to make sure that the world understands the need for them to step alongside us as well in order for us to not just save the lives of families like the one I just discussed, but ultimately, to make sure that this doesn’t have the kinds of spillover effects that become even more difficult to control.

So thank you very much to the entire team that’s already doing this work.  And please know that you’ve got your President and Commander-in-Chief behind you.  Thank you.

US Discloses Plan to Tackle Ebola in West Africa

As the Ebola epidemic has overwhelmed Liberia with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf calling on the Government of the United States to intervene to prevent the country from collapse, US President Barack Obama has announced plans of bringing in more equipment and 3,000 military troops to help save the country and its neighbors from the calamity.

 “This is an epidemic that is not just a threat to regional security, it’s a potential threat to global security,” said Mr. Obama in a statement at the US Center for Disease Control.  “If these countries break down – if their economies break down; if they panic – that has profound effects on all of us even if we are not directly contracting the disease.  And that’s why 2 months ago I directed my team to make that a national priority…  We have devoted significant resources in support of our strategy with four goals in mind:

  1. To control the outbreak
  2. To address the ripple effects of local economies and communities to prevent a truly massive humanitarian disaster
  3. To coordinate a broader global response; and,
  4. To urgently build up a public health system in these countries for the future, not just in West Africa, but in countries that don’t have a lot of resources generally.” 

At the military front, United States will, through the U.S. Africa Command, set up a task force with headquarters in Monrovia to provide regional command and control support to U.S. military activities and facilitate coordination with U.S. government and international relief.

“At the request of the Liberian Government, we’re gonna set up a military command center in Liberia to support civilian efforts across the region,” the American President said.

U.S. Africa Command will set up a Joint Force Command headquartered in Monrovia, Liberia, to provide regional command and control support to U.S. military activities and facilitate coordination with U.S. government and international relief efforts.  Major General Darryl Williams, commander of the U.S. Army forces in Africa, will lead the effort, which will involve an estimated 3,000 U.S. forces.

The U.S. Africa Command will establish a regional intermediate staging base (ISB) to facilitate and expedite the transportation of equipment, supplies and personnel. Of the U.S. forces taking part in this response, many will be stationed at the ISB.

Accordingly, Command engineers will build additional Ebola Treatment Units in affected areas, and the U.S. Government will help recruit and organize medical personnel to staff them.  Additionally, the Command will establish a site to train up to 500 health care providers per week, enabling healthcare workers to safely provide direct medical care to patients.

A dispatch from the U.S. Embassy notes that the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps is preparing to deploy 65 Commissioned Corps officers to Liberia to manage and staff a previously announced Department of Defense (DoD) hospital to care for healthcare workers who become ill. The deployment roster will consist of administrators, clinicians, and support staff.

Being more specific about Liberia because of the worsening condition of the crisis, the U.S. Government said its development institution; USAID is supporting a community care program that will enhance the distribution of household kits to over 400,000 households.

“USAID is supporting a Community Care Campaign, which will provide communities and households with protection kits, appropriate information and training on how to protect themselves and their loved ones. In partnership with the United Nations Children Fund, the Paul Allen Family Foundation, and other key partners, we will immediately target the 400,000 most vulnerable households in Liberia. The package will subsequently be scaled to cover the country and the broader region.”

As part of this effort, this week, USAID will airlift 50,000 home health care kits from Denmark to Liberia to be hand-delivered to distant communities by trained youth volunteers.

This recent plan by the United States to help Liberia and the rest of the affected Ebola countries is one of the highest responses since the outbreak in March this year.  This does not mean the US Government has not been engaged in helping especially Liberia to fight the life claiming virus.

The dispatch recalled that to date, the people of United States have spent more than $100 million to address this challenge, including the purchase of personal protective equipment, mobile labs, logistics and relief commodities, and support for community health workers. USAID also has announced plans to make available up to $75 million in additional funding to increase the number of Ebola treatment units, provide more personal protective equipment, airlift additional medical and emergency supplies, and support other Ebola response activities in collaboration with the UN, including the World Health Organization, and international partners.

Earlier, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided on the ground expertise in the largest international response in its history.

More than 100 CDC personnel are on the ground in West Africa, and hundreds of personnel at their Emergency Operations Center in Atlanta have provided around the clock logistics, staffing, communication, analytics, management, and other support functions. The Administration has asked Congress for an additional $30 million to send additional response workers from the CDC as well as lab supplies and equipment.           

Furthermore, USAID in August deployed a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to West Africa to coordinate and prioritize the U.S. government’s response to the outbreak.

The DART assesses and identifies priority needs and coordinates key areas of the response, such as planning, operations, and logistics. The 28-member DART team is comprised of staff from USAID, CDC, DoD, and the U.S. Forest Service.

It will be airlifting 130,000 sets of personal protective equipment to ensure that health care workers have the resources needed to safely do their jobs. The DART is also in the process of procuring generators that will provide electricity to Ebola treatment units and other response facilities.

LCCBC Gives Over Us$48,000 Medical Supplies

The Liberia Coca-Cola Bottling Company (LCCBC) on Tuesday, Sept. 16, donated medical supplies worth over US$48,000 to the National Task Force on Ebola.

The presentation ceremony was held in the compound of the LCCBC in Paynesville outside Monrovia.

The donation, according to Victor B. George, Public Affairs and Communication Manager, contains materials that will be used to protect health workers around the country.

In a welcome remark, George said LCCBC was donating water and beverages, thermometers, money, buckets and bleaches to at least 12 hospitals, clinics and communities, through the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in Monrovia.

He promised that the LCCBC will continue to do so until the end of this pandemic.

He said the LCCBC made a commitment to the Liberian Government to deliver to the National Task Force 500 cases of water, which have an equivalent of 6,000 bottles every month.

He added that their commitment to fight against the Ebola Virus is in the tone of US$200,000 or more.

Receiving the donation on behalf of the Task Force, the head of the Ebola Task Force, Mr. Dorbor Jallah extended gratitude to the LCCBC for their effort in fighting this deadly disease and assured the LCCBC that the Ebola Treatment Units will not go without water as a result of donations by LCCBC and others.

 Mr. Jallah also said that they will do all in their power to ensure that the items are used for their intended purpose.

Meanwhile, the head of the task force also used the medium to call on other companies in and out of Liberia to join in the fight against this deadly scourge.

‘Don’t Put Politics in the Ebola Fight’, Bong Lawmaker

Bong County Salala District Representative, Adam Bill Corneh, has told stakeholders in the chiefdom and district not to mix politics with the fight against the deadly Ebola virus that has claimed over 400 lives in Liberia, including 50 persons from his district.
Representative Adam Bill Corneh said the Ebola virus is an untreatable disease, which shouldn’t be muddled with politics.

He cited that the gravity of the disease is evidenced by the quarantining of people in over six counties and the country’s growth forecast “is no longer realistic.”

He made this appeal during an interview on Wednesday, September 10, 2014 with journalists in his Capitol office, while responding to allegations that he had  deserted the district since the outbreak of deadly Ebola virus in the county.

Rep. Corneh described the allegation as ‘misleading and disrespectful’ and was merely propounded by detractors to put him against his people ahead of the 2017 Presidential and General Elections.
 

The Bong County District # 6 Representative who is serving his second term, noted that he and Senator Henry Yallah visited the affected areas in the county and distributed some needed items amongst the citizens including, bags of rice, buckets, cartoons of soaps, chloride, dettol and sacks of chlorine and salt.

“There is no need for politics to be in the fight against Ebola because our people know deeply in their hearts that we have always taken  the lead in identifying with them in times of happiness or trouble,” Rep. Bill said. “Politicians will always be politicians by not recognizing our efforts but telling lies.”

Rep. Corneh indicated that he had written the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives, complaining against some stakeholders of the county who had launched a campaign against him and Senators Henry Yallah and Jewel Howard Taylor in order to make them unpopular with their citizens to win political points.

“When Senator Henry Yallah and I went to the affected areas, the citizens accorded us poor reception and criticized us for abandoning them, but after they were educated, they reasoned with us,” Rep. Corneh stressed.

Also in his letter dated September 9, 2014, Rep. Corneh accused the stakeholders who are heading the taskforce for not containing the virus but instead politicizing their function, consequently causing the virus to reach his district and killing 50 persons.

“However, some members of the leadership of Bong County Task Force have decided to politicize the function of the task force in order to satisfy their personal political interest, and as a result of those negative vices 50 persons in my district have died of the Ebola virus,” Rep. Corneh stated.

He added: “Areas that these deaths occurred are Zeanzue town (one person); Donfa town (four persons); Totota (two persons); Miamu (two persons); Camp 5 (five persons), Borka and Balakaitala (32 persons) and Kpakolokoyatea (one person), and over 35 persons are suspected of having the virus,” the Bong Lawmaker said.

He further told newsmen that he is packaging another consignment of preventive and containment items for his citizens including awareness leaflets.

Meanwhile, according to the Ministry of Health’s list on the disbursement of funds in the fight against Ebola, about L$11 millions was given the county authority in the fight against virus.

Aureus Mining Fights Ebola in Cape Mount

In line with its social and corporate responsibilities, Aureus Mining has embarked on a methodological effort to help fight the Ebola malady in Grand Cape Mount County.

Towards this end, Aureus has given 42 buckets and chlorine to Gola Konneh and 21 buckets and chlorine and other anti-Ebola materials to Tewor districts respectively.

The company has also donated 200 gallons of fuel and four begs of rice to Radio Cape Mount and Radio Salim to facilitate their work in spreading anti-Ebola messages in Grand Cape Mount County. Most citizens in Cape Mount are ardent listeners to the two community radio stations that essentially broadcast in the Vai and Gola vernaculars.

Aureus is an active member of the Cape Mount County Ebola Response Team. As member of the team, Aureus has given assorted anti-Ebola materials and Personal Protective Equipment to the county health team to help in the fight against the Ebola scourge.

As part of measures to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus in the company’s catchment area, Aureus has established and is implementing the appropriate precautionary measures and contingency plans to ensure the company, its employees, contractors and visitors are not placed under unnecessary risk.

Anyone entering the company’s premises will have to go through routine hand washing and temperature test at almost every gate.

Since the outbreak of the deadly Ebola disease, Aureus has maintained full scale operation at the New Liberty Mines in Grand Cape Mount County.

In a related development, Aureus, working in collaboration with Grand Cape Mount County authority and the Liberian government, has built over 320 housing units for residents who were relocated from Old Kinjor to New Kinjor.

Additionally, there is a new housing project made of bricks under construction. This project, undertaken by Aureus, will be turned over to the locals thus bringing each family housing unit to two.

At the New Kinjor, Aureus has built a market hall, a mosque and a church. Sheik Sonii, Media and Community Outreach Officer at Aureus, divulged that plans are underway to complete a clinic and a playground for the New Kinjor residents.

Aureus, Sonii said, has provided hand pumps and other sanitary facilities in New Kinjor to better the lives of the locals and prevent the citizens from contracting the Ebola disease.

Alpha Oldtimers Troubled on Members’ Rift

Liberia’s oldest old-timers football association, Alpha, said it is worried on the potential disunity in the club due to the rift between two of its versatile members Ambassador George M. Weah and George Solo.

The Alpha Oldtimers’ position stemmed from the recent endorsement by CDC standard bearer George Weah who endorsed then party chairman George Solo’s two years suspension.

There has been controversy over the suspension and Alpha feared it might hamper the cordial relationship of the organization.

Alpah Oldtimers Sports Association secretary general J. Bryant Mcgill said in a social network, facebook page that the rift between the two men might alter the club’s usual camaraderie with members and officials.

He called on Amb. George M. Weah and George Solo, both advisors as well as players, not to permit politics to fracture their relationship but rather continue to embrace each other.

The Alpha chief scribe urged them to wake up to the realities of brotherliness and consider the shared bonds of their acquaintance.

“Politics is a catalyst that influences needless conflicts among— leaders and political party ideologues on… religions, ethnicity, culture, values and social connections,” Mr. Mcgill wrote.

He added: “As such, amid the current political divergence in the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) between Advisor Solo and the Party’s Executive Committee, this is one time, Advisor George Weah and George Solo should write-off their pride and realize that their membership with AOSA is critical, and should not allow the ongoing situation to derail their affiliation with the association.”

Mr. Weah joined AOSA about 10 years ago and in 2011 he encouraged Mr. Solo to also join, according to secretary general Mcgill.

Both men played together and they last played for ‘LEGEND’ in the G. Andy Quamie Special Tournament on July 26, 2014, winning the trophy in a lottery shot, 4-3, against the Red Dragons.

Mr. Mcgill meanwhile appealed to the AOSA’s Advisory Board, headed by Cllr. T.C. Gould as well as Alpha leadership headed by Prof. Sunny Nyemah to convene an emergency meeting to address the situation.

Mcgill revealed that all has been finalized to name the Alpha (Zubah Town and/or George Weah) Sports Stadium, in memory of the late Willis D. Knuckles, Jr., as well as retiring his number 9 jersey.

The late Willis D. Knuckles was a founding member of the Alpha Old-timers Sports Association in 1970. He served several times as its General Captain and President.

NWIDA Educates Youths on Ebola

The Special Ebola Response Team of New Water in the Desert Assembly Church (NWIDA) has conducted a one-day community awareness Ebola training seminar for young people in VOA, Lower Brewerville.

The one-day training was intended to collectively discuss the issue of Ebola and advance collective ideas to fight and eradicate the disease from Liberia. 

The awareness was held under the theme: “Ebola Volunteerism and the road to an Ebola free Liberia” brought together over 70 participants from nine community-based youth organizations in the area.

Youth groups which participated in the workshop included  Greater Academic Students Association, Adrem (To the Point) Intellectual Forum, Diompelor Social and Athletic Club, Youths in Action for Education and Development, NWIDA Youth Fellowship, Young Women Professionals, Yellow Flower Youth Organization, Perry Town Development Association and  Wilson Corner Youth Association.

Reverend Dr. Kortu K. Brown, who is a general overseer of the Apostolic Pentecostal Church, reminded his youthful audience that to win the war against Ebola, the fight must be prioritized by local communities including the youth, adding “all Liberians must get involve.”

Rev.Brown urged youth to step out and enhance the fight against Ebola.  He therefore called on stakeholders to encourage communities to join the fight.

Since the outbreak of the deadly virus in Liberia, his church has been intervening through the provision of community awareness, providing personal protective equipment to health centers as well as food and non-food items, including over 200 bags of rice to vulnerable people in quarantined centers.

He disclosed that his church is working with local churches in Banjor Community in District 17 to ward off the threat posed by Ebola to that community.

The workshop, which was facilitated by the Political Officer of the United States Embassy near Monrovia, Mr. Joseph Chamberlain, focused on the following topics: What is Ebola, How is it spread, How to prevent it, and what can Liberian youths do in the overall fight against Ebola?

Other related topics deliberated on by Mr. Chamberlain included the meaning of Volunteerism; Volunteerism in Community Development and the Role of the Youth in building a Peaceful, Prosperous Liberia.  This was followed by a general discussion.

During his presentation, Mr. Chamberlain highlighted several points for his youthful audience to be aware as they fight Ebola:

He told the youth that Ebola is hard to get and is primarily transmitted through touching sick persons or dead bodies diagnosed with having the virus.

He continue, “Ebola is only passed or transmitted to someone when the signs and symptoms are being shown.”

The US envoy also noted that many people are afraid of isolation centers, but emphasized that the best way to be treated is to isolate oneself when diagnosed of the disease, adding that “being infected with Ebola is not a death sentence and that learning about Ebola is the best thing for Liberian youths to do to join the fight.”

Meanwhile, the participants made several recommendations in order to enhance their role in the fight against Ebola and the way forward.

According to them, there should be an increase in awareness by way of radio, jingoes, broadcasting messages in local languages, house to house visitations, dramatization in public places, etc.

The participants also called on government to establish trauma healing and counseling programs for relatives of Ebola victims available at the community level.

FIFA Accepts Usage of ATS for Ebola Treatment

The world governing football body, FIFA, has accepted a request from the World Health Organization (WHO) for the usage of the Antoinette Tubman Stadium (ATS) in central Monrovia as Ebola treatment Center, according to media release (on www.FIFA.com).

According to a joint FIFA and UN release dated September 11, entitled “FIFA and the United Nations hand in hand to fight Ebola,” FIFA President Joseph Blatter expressed his satisfaction to support the proposed action to convert the pitch into treatment units.

Blatter said: “Thanks to the continuous fruitful and fundamental collaboration between FIFA and the United Nations, today we can use the power of football to combat the Ebola epidemic.

“To allay any concerns regarding the impact of the treatment units on the recently installed pitch, FIFA has also proposed to cover the costs of any damage.”

The release also said: “The commitment of sport organizations to support our efforts is very much welcomed and crucial. It is my hope that many will join in this fight. In particular I was very pleased to note FIFA’s pledge to support health-related measures by agreeing to cover potential damages to the football pitch of the Antoinette Tubman stadium in Monrovia, Liberia that has been earmarked for the use for Ebola treatment centres. ”

It added: “The collaboration will go beyond the lending of the Monrovia pitch. At its next Finance Committee meeting on 25 September, FIFA will propose to use resources from its solidarity fund to support the member associations of the affected countries (Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea) in the fight against Ebola. The additional financial support will have to be spent in solidarity with a local UN initiative.”

Madam Wilfried Lemke, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General of the United Nations on Sport for Development and Peace added, “The Ebola outbreak also has a tremendous impact on the sport community, ranging from health treats to the athletes themselves and restrictions of travel affecting competitions and the development of sport.

“National authorities, the UN and the world of sport need to work closely together in order to halt the spread of the disease.”

Meanwhile, Liberia’s football chief, Musa Bility, speaking following the release of a joint Statement by the two world bodies, said Ebola has doomed Liberia’s statehood and existence unless the rest of the world including LFA’s parent Body Fifa and other well-meaning organizations come to the aid of the country.

Bility said the football house is elated it could assist the Ebola fight by means of the ATS, which is ideally situated in Central Monrovia.

He noted that the LFA couldn’t wait to witness the eradication of the deadly virus from Liberia to resume football activities once again.

It can be recalled, the LFA on Monday, the 27 of July 2014, suspended all football activities in response to the Ebola fight.