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3-MARY'S-MEALS-LIBERIA

How Mary’s Meals is still trying to feed the hungry in Liberia

The charity Mary’s Meals is delivering food aid to thousands of people affected by the Ebola outbreak in Liberia—including patients infected by the deadly virus—following the launch of an emergency relief effort.

Under normal circumstances, Mary’s Meals reaches more than 128,000 impoverished children across Liberia each day, attracting them to the classroom with a nutritious meal in school. The recent crisis has, however, brought a temporary halt to the charity’s feeding programme in the country, with all schools now closed.

The head of the World Health Organisation has warned that Ebola is effectively out of control in West Africa and could quickly become a worldwide pandemic WHO director general Margaret Chan was speaking at the UN health agency’s headquarters in Geneva on Friday and noted that ‘in the three hardest hit countries, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the number of new patients is moving far faster than the capacity to manage them.’

She called for urgent international support in the form of doctors, nurses, medical supplies and aid to the worst-affected countries. Healthcare workers have been infected with Ebola while treating patients in West Africa. Almost half of the 301 healthcare workers who have developed the disease have died.

Mary’s Meals is attempting to play its part in battling the disease and has now launched an emergency response to the Ebola outbreak by distributing food to children in their homes.

The charity is also reacting quickly to requests from embattled health care workers to provide much-needed food aid to suspected Ebola sufferers. Meals are being distributed at three holding centres in the townships of Tubmanburg, Robertsport and Brewerville.

“We have been working in Liberia since 1997 at the height of the country’s hideous and terrifying civil war,” Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, Mary’s Meals founder and CEO, said. “During those years, we supported the people amidst unimaginable violence. Today, we are determined to again provide continuity and potentially life-saving support, at a time when the communities we serve are facing, in Ebola, a truly frightening invisible enemy.”

“It is thanks to the generosity of our supporters around the world that Mary’s Meals can act quickly in times of crisis to provide vital food supplies to people in desperate need.”

The state of emergency declared by Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has led to the establishment of quarantined zones and the restriction of people’s movements. As a result, there have been widespread reports of soaring food prices, increased hunger and a general rise in food insecurity across the region.

Mary’s Meals staff on the ground are working closely with community leaders to deliver and monitor the emergency food distribution programme. They are also routinely giving best practice information and advice on preventing infection from the Ebola virus.

The extraordinary measures ordered by the Liberian Government mean that schools will remain closed until further notice.

— Visit http://www.marysmeals.org.uk

— Read the full version of this story in Sept 19 edition of the SCO in parishes from Friday.

 

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