Residents of a Liberian slum have looted a quarantined clinic for patients suspected of carrying the deadly virus, carrying off items including “bloody sheets and mattresses,” now officials fear “Ebola could soon spread through the capital’s largest slum.”
The facility held approximately 30 patients, most of whom fled during the raid by area residents angry that patients were brought to the location from other parts of Monrovia. The patients are set to be transferred to the Ebola center as Monrovia’s largest hospital once they are located, again.
West Point residents went on a “looting spree,” stealing items from the clinic that were likely infected, said a senior police official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the press. The residents took medical equipment and mattresses and sheets that had bloodstains, he said.
… “All between the houses you could see people fleeing with items looted from the patients,” the official said, adding that he now feared “the whole of West Point will be infected.”
Reports claim some of the looted items were stained with “blood, vomit and excrement,” giving rise to new fears of an epidemic.
Liberian police restored order to the West Point neighbourhood. Sitting on land between the Montserrado River and the Atlantic Ocean, West Point is home to at least 50,000 people, according to a 2012 survey produced by groups including the Liberia Peacebuilding Office and the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission.
Distrust of government runs high, with rumours regularly circulating that officials plan to clear the slum out entirely.
Though there had been talk of putting West Point under quarantine should Ebola break out there, assistant health minister Nyenswah said Sunday no such step had been taken. “West Point is not yet quarantined as being reported,” he said.