Violence in Monrovia as Liberia tries to enforce quarantine
As the Liberian military and local police forces tried to enforce an Ebola quarantine in the capital of Monrovia, civilians began to clash with them.
The New York Times says the epicenter of the violence was the West Point neighborhood, a sprawling slum similar to the favelas of Brazil. West Point has been the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak in Liberia because it lacks paved roads, running water, proper sanitation and waste removal.
Liberia has more deaths than any other country fighting the disease. More than 576 Liberians have died.
The quarantine around West Point was so tight that the Coast Guard was preventing canoes and other small vessels from leaving the peninsula on which the neighborhood is situated.
In reaction to the quarantine, enormous crowds of young men formed on the street and confronted the armed police and military soldiers. As the crowds advanced on the security forces, they opened fire, injuring civilians. At least one of those shot was a 15-year old boy.
This is not the fist time Ebola-related violence has broken out in the West Point neighborhood. Over the weekend of Aug. 16-17, a mob looted an Ebola treatment center and freed all of the people who were quarantined there.
Making matters worse is the fact that Liberia does not have the number of medical professionals and personnel that are required to cope with and contain the Ebola virus. Some hospitals have had to close after their staff fell ill and died from the disease, leading to an overwhelming crush of patients at facilities that are still functioning.
As these hospitals and health facilities are focused on Ebola, many other basic health services such as treatments for Malaria and malnutrition are no longer possible. Pregnant women have had their babies die because they could not find anyone to help them deliver the children in time, according to the Times.