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EBOLA VICTIMS PLAN BIG DEMO
The outbreak of Ebola Viral Disease (EVD) in Sierra Leone on 25th May, 2014, has claimed nearly four thousand lives and devastated the country’s economy. The origin of the virus and its devastating effect has caused mixed feelings among the populace.
The Ebola outbreak has left tens of thousands of Sierra Leoneans jobless while a few people with lucrative assignments in the Ebola fight are praying inwardly for the epidemic not to end just as yet.
The outbreak of the deadly virus exposed the weak health system of the country and Government at the initial outbreak called for the establishment of district taskforce committees and sub-chiefdom committees to help contain the virus from spreading in their respective communities.
The 14 districts of the country consequently set up those committees and after a rigorous fight against the pandemic, the Central Government established the National Operational Centre (NOC) as the highest body to champion the Ebola fight, which was later renamed the National Ebola Response Centre (NERC) when the international response to the Ebola fight was heightened.
Before the establishment of NERC, the Kenema District Taskforce Committee comprised the Resident Minister – East, Mr. Maya Moiwo Kaikai, the District Council Chairman, Dr. Senesie Mansaray, who was also Chairman of the Coordinating Committee, and many other stakeholders in the district.
While NERC is the implementing body of the fight against the Ebola outbreak, what has currently happened in Kenema District is that both Ebola survivors and those orphaned by the epidemic have started crying out against the non-supply of food and other logistics they need to upkeep themselves. They have the perception that NERC and other institutions aiding the Ebola fight have abandoned their welfare and the only way they can express their grievances to the Central Government is to protest against the inhuman treatment meted out to them by NERC, NGO’s and other organizations, especially the NGO’s that received support from donors to fight against the deadly disease.
Expressing her grievance to this medium, Madam Mariama Kuyateh of Kenema, who was in tears, lamented that she lost all her family members to the deadly virus during the early stage of the outbreak. She strongly supported the investigation of officials that were handling the Ebola funds and bring to book those who would be found wanting.
Some Kenema youths and community people also demanded an immediate explanation from stakeholders of the Kenema Taskforce Committee and sub-chiefdom committees as to how they expended the donations they received from institutions and individuals as well as funds disbursed by the Central Government to contain the epidemic in the district.
They also expressed concern over the remaining food and non-food items at the stores and the remaining funds that were deposited under the District Taskforce Committee’s account at the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank (SLCB). Some youths recalled that for quite a long time only WHH and WFP have been supplying Ebola survivors, orphans and widows with food whilst the District Taskforce Committee had remained inactive in the Ebola fight.
They therefore called on the District Taskforce Committee to cease their operations, hand over everything to NERC and concentrate on their national duties since NERC has taken over from them.
Many accused the stakeholders of the taskforce committee for spending long hours at taskforce meetings and abandoning their official duties in their various institutions. The list of donated food items and cash donations to the Kenema District Taskforce Committee will be published in subsequent editions.