Thursday 23 October 2014

Irish workers to remain in Liberia despite Ebola threat

Aishling Phelan

Published 01/04/2014 | 13:14

THREE Irish Concern workers will not be pulled from their work in Liberia despite the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus spreading to the country.

Head of Overseas Operations at Concern Anne O’ Mahony told Morning Ireland on RTÉ Radio 1 said there is, ‘‘no question of evacuating our people.’’ 

The outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus has killed 78 people in Guinea and has spread to neighbouring Liberia according to the World Health Organisation.

Ebola is a highly contagious disease with a mortality rate of around 90 per cent.

‘‘We will protect our people and they have all received immediate awareness messaging around how to protect themselves,’’ she said.

‘‘We heard about [the spread] yesterday morning and immediately out teams on the ground kicked into action.

‘‘We heard about it in relation to two people that died in Liberia itself yesterday morning,’’ Ms O’Mahony added.

Concern has a staff number of 95 on the ground in Liberia, with three Irish staff members.

The Concern chief said it was the first Ebola outbreak in Liberia.

‘‘In this part of the world it’s relatively new and it has raised lots of fears.

‘‘The mortality rate is high as soon as you contract it so it does create waves of panic,’’ she said.

The spread of the deadly virus, which has killed dozens in Guinea, to neighbouring Liberia has escalated the epidemic to a potential crisis situation according to aid agency Plan Ireland.

The virus has claimed the life of a Plan Guinea staff member while another Plan Guinea employee has lost their wife and sister to the killer virus.

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