Ebola Virus

Ebola stalls Liberia's 2014 Christmas celebration

For the Liberians, this Christmas season was a different experience altogether as the Ebola epidemic has cast a dark shadow over the celebration. the small businesses that usually experience some higher patronages are especially feeling the pinch.

Nonetheless, it's only the livings that can tell the stories in whichever.

"This is the worst Christmas we have ever seen," said Isaac G. Chea, a trader. "Because of the Ebola crisis... people don't want to come in the market, there where people gather; touching each other" for fear of contracting the disease.edcx

The Monrovia residents cannot remember a more gloomy Christmas period since the West African country's back-to-back civil wars, which claimed thousands of of lives between 1989 and 2003.

Ebola crisis on it's own, has claimed over 3,000 Liberian lives and that is at least enough to have prompted President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to cancel a traditional event in which she usually invites children to her office for Christmas presents. Even though some youths were seen engaging in a Christmas tradition, putting on disguises and dancing in the streets to raise some pocket money for Christmas gifts, but the difference was just clear enough to be seen.

What seemed to attract more attentions, were prominent ant-Ebola teams plying the streets of the capital and suburbs urging the people to be particularly vigilant against the disease during the holidays.

An engineer, Samuel Streete, told the newsmen, that he told his family that they are not going out! "No celebration, we will stay home and watch movies all day because of Ebola."

Angie Gardea, a cosmetician, said business had fallen off. "Customers are not really pouring in like before, so today I could not buy my children Christmas clothes."

Nor has Sunny Fassiah, 53, bought any Christmas presents this year. "You celebrate only when you are healthy," he said. "Ebola is still here, we have to keep the biggest portion of the money for preventive measures and preventive medicine."LIBERIA-HEALTH-EBOLA-UN

As you walk round the streets of Monrovia, you are greeted with posters aimed at raising awareness about preventing the spreads of the disease; there are more prominent than Christmas decorations in the capital of the African impoverished country.

Liberia is said to be the highest hit by the disease with current death toll at 3,384 out of 7,862 cases recorded by the WHO latest count, putting the country to be the most fatalities in the current outbreak, seconded by Seirra Leon and Guinea.

To show that the country is at last turning the corner, so to say, it was finally able to hold Senate elections on Saturday, which has been previously postponed twice because of the epidemic.

But Streete, the engineer, said that even if containment efforts seemed to be bearing fruit, Liberians should not "be wild, going around and celebrating like our tradition; no! Things have to be different for this Christmas. That's the main thing. he says finally.Eb

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