In Liberia’s capital of Monrovia, taxis filled with families crisscross the city, searching in vain for a facility with space to treat loved ones infected with the Ebola virus. Children orphaned by the disease and shunned by other relatives have nowhere to go. The government’s main hospital is plagued by floods and electrical fires, and several employees have succumbed to Ebola.
That grim picture, detailed Monday by the World Health Organization, is poised to become even bleaker. The number of Ebola cases in Liberia, the country hit hardest by the outbreak, is “increasing exponentially,” the agency said, adding that the country’s needs “have completely outstripped the government’s and partners’ capacity to respond.”
The WHO’s description of the situation in Liberia echoed the warnings of aid groups such as Doctors Without Borders: that the outbreak is accelerating rapidly and slipping further out of control by the day. In Liberia, thousands of new cases are expected in coming weeks, the agency said.
A team of emergency experts dispatched by the WHO to assess the situation in Liberia recently found a country overwhelmed by the crisis.
“As soon as a new Ebola treatment facility is opened, it immediately fills to overflowing with patients, pointing to a large but previously invisible caseload,” the WHO wrote in its assessment Monday. “When patients are turned away at Ebola treatment centers, they have no choice but to return to their communities and homes, where they inevitably infect others.”