World

Liberia Quarantines Township Where Residents Attacked Ebola Clinic

The move is meant to contain what health officials had described as a hot spot of the disease in the capital.

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Liberia on Wednesday quarantined West Point, a densely packed informal neighborhood in the capital of Monrovia. Security forces moved to block the area and prevent residents from moving in and out.

Residents and security forces clashed as the quarantine was put in place. Many were angry that they could not get to their work sites, markets, and in some cases, homes or family members.

Liberian soldiers were also sent in to evacuate West Point Commissioner Miata Flowers and her family on Wednesday as anger over the government’s handling of Ebola in West Point spread.

Ebola has killed more than 1,300 people in four African countries since March, and Liberia has been hard hit. Nearly 600 people have died as the disease has spread from the countryside to the capital.

John Moore / Getty Images

West Point residents pass by soldiers stationed in the neighborhood on Aug. 20. Over 75% of the disease’s victims are women, according to the Ministry of Health.

In West Point, a community of more than 75,000, Ebola has traveled fast. Health and sanitation services are scarce, and the neighborhood's cramped quarters are ripe for contagion.

Last week, health officials opened an Ebola holding center for people suspected of having the disease to wait for test results. Then on Aug. 16, a crowd of distressed residents attacked the clinic, taking patients, beds, and medical materials.

AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh

Residents in West Point gather in frustration that they cannot reach their homes after the quarantine was put in place on Aug. 20.

Former BuzzFeed World Reporter, Current BuzzFeed News Contributor

Contact Miriam Berger at miriam.berger+done@buzzfeed.com.

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