Via FrontPageAfrica: Fear Still Lingers in Village Ravaged By Ebola in Bong County. Excerpt:
Barlaketela, Salala District, Bong County - The signs of a deadly struggle remain: Scattered around the houses of the Ebola dead lie empty pill packages, their plastic casings punched through. Nearby in the mud are used packets of oral rehydration salts. The pills did not work and the hurried trip to the hospital, if there was one, came too late.
Inside house after house, Ebola has claimed its victims: In Barlaketala, out of a population of perhaps 30, 8 people died; over there, seven, including three children. A few yards away, an old man lives alone, his wife now dead. In another, seven people are dead, the village teacher said. In a long, low house nearby, 16 died, all from the same family. Outside yet another, two tiny girls, one age 6 and her sister 7, sit pensively in front, their parents gone.
And there are more. “So many,” said Sekou Sheriff, the 35-year-old village teacher, clutching his little daughter’s hand. “We lost too many people.” Barlaketala is the most devastated village in Bong County, according to the Bong County Health Team. The area, a mud-brick community of rice and cassava farmers deep in the forest, is quiet now. “We wanted to abandon this village,” Sheriff said.
There are still people here, but the village appears frozen. Inside the darkened houses, the scant belongings of the victims — ragged clothing, sandals, a rare radio — sit untouched weeks later. No new cases have surfaced here in nearly a week, but fear that the deadly virus still lurks has kept everything in place.
Nothing appears to have moved since the deadly tide swept through. The County Ebola Task Force, desperate to contain an epidemic that has claimed about 50 lives in the county alone, effectively cordoned off this part of the county. Two districts adjacent to the area were put under quarantine by the county leadership a few months ago, shutting down much of the traffic on the muddy road cutting through the Ebola zone.
Now, a region has been cut off from the rest of the country because of the roadblocks, warned a local leader, Salala District Commissioner Karmo Kanneh — raising worries that if the epidemic does not decimate the region, a subsequent shortage of food, trade and supplies will. “Our fear now is that closing these road's risks having more people die of malnutrition and even starvation than by Ebola,” Kanneh told FrontPage Africa.
The sweeping quarantine, much like the one imposed on parts of county, underscores a basic reality in the battle against the epidemic: Neither the government nor the international health organizations on the front lines seem able to stop it from spreading through the afflicted areas.