Thanks to Annie De Groot for tweeting the link to this BuzzFeed report by Jina Moore: Mob Destroys Ebola Center In Liberia Two Days After It Opens. If true, it's both discouraging and alarming. Excerpt:
This morning Makasha Kroma shivered with fever. Her head still hurt; that hadn’t gone away. And she was vomiting a lot.
That’s why she’d ended up here, at a holding center where people suspected to have Ebola wait, in a dark classroom, for the results of their tests. These things — headache, fever, vomiting — are the early signs.
Ebola is transmitted through bodily fluids. It has no treatment, besides hydration, no cure, no proven vaccine. Since February, it’s ravaged West Africa, infecting more than 2,000 people in four countries and killing more than 1,100.
Kroma came to the West Point holding center with her sister, her three children, a cousin named Bindu, and two other family members. They are all women, or girls — most caregivers in Liberia are — and they washed Kroma’s clothes, fed her rice, wiped down her body, and cleaned up her vomit with a rag and some chlorine.
Those are the kinds of chores that give you Ebola. And the girls had no gloves. All the gloves the Ministry of Health brought this place when it opened yesterday, all 150 of them, were gone by the middle of the night.
That’s when three people escaped. Because Sam Tarplah and his staff didn’t have any gloves, they couldn’t restrain the patients who wanted to flee. They could only plead.
“We begged them, told them people are coming tomorrow to help you,” Tarplah said. “But there was no way we could fight them.”
Two escaped by climbing the back wall, according to health care workers in a clinic next door. Another, a woman with five children, simply took off, Tarplah said.
Tarplah is a registered nurse who’s worked in health care in Liberia since 1989; he opened this holding center for the Ministry of Health on Thursday, and had eight patients. On Friday, before the escape, he had 29.
West Point is becoming a hot spot in a hot spot in the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. It’s an informal community, a “slum,” with no running water or toilets. People can live seven or more to a single dwelling, and the density is dangerous: A positive Ebola patient disappearing into the maze of metal shacks can be a public health horror story.
Today, things got even worse.
A mob descended on the center at around 5:30 p.m., chanting, “No Ebola in West Point! No Ebola in West Point!” They stormed the front gate and pushed into the holding center. They stole the few gloves someone had donated this morning, and the chlorine sprayers used to disinfect the bodies of those who die here, all the while hollering that Ebola is a hoax.
They ransacked the protective suits, the goggles, the masks. They destroyed part of Tarplah’s car as he was fleeing the crowd.
Jemimah Kargbo, a health care worker at a clinic next door, said they took mattresses and bedding, utensils and plastic chairs.
“Everybody left with their own thing,” she said. “What are they carrying to their homes? They are carrying their deaths.”
She said the police showed up but the crowd intimidated them.
“The police were there but they couldn’t contain them. They started threatening the police, so the police just looked at them,” she said.
And then mob left with all of the patients.
“They said, ‘The president says you have Ebola, but you don’t have Ebola, you have malaria. Get up and go out!’” Kargbo said.