Monsoon has arrived at the Ebola-hit towns of Kenema and Kailahun, in Sierra Leone, as the World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced that over 1,000 people have been killed by the deadly virus in West Africa.
A total of 52 people have died in a span of three days, increasing the total death toll to 1,013 in the four Ebola-hit West African nations of Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, the WHO told Reuters. Other than this, WHO also said that a total of 1,848 people have now been diagnosed with the deadly virus, which has a mortality rate of around 60 percent.
Meanwhile, monsoon has hit the two Sierra Leonean towns of Kailahun and Kenema, which seem to have been completely flooded, according to a report by Newsweek. The report by WHO also states that 17 people have been killed by the deadly virus, in Sierra Leone, over the past three days.
The flooding of these two Ebola-hit towns have also increased fears that the disease could spread even faster. The last time these towns were flooded (2012), an outbreak of cholera occurred. However, this time, the scenario is completely different.
The Ebola outbreak has caused panic in the areas and efforts are in place to contain this disease. The two towns have been cordoned off by the armed forces, and people cannot be evacuated. As the Ebola virus spreads through bodily fluids, the flood could pose an even greater threat to spread the virus.
Additionally, flooding in these two towns, in a normal year, causes much economic instability. Food stocks are often destroyed by the flood, as the regional markets exhibit inflation for the essential food products. It is with good reason that the farmers call the months of June, July and August, the "hungry season".
As far as the people's fear of the Ebola virus is concerned, they appear to shun hospitals more than the virus itself. A visit to the hospital is often deemed as a death sentence in these parts of the country. Even the health care workers seem to fear a visit to their workplace these days, as recent reports say that they are the most at risk of contracting the virus.
More than 20 health care workers have been killed by the virus. Only the workers who deal with the Ebola patients are provided with protective gear, while the others are poorly equipped. As a flurry of health care workers flee from their duties, the general support of the public seems to be for these nurses and doctors and miscellaneous hospital staff. They believe that it is the government who is responsible for this trend, and that they should be providing better infrastructure for the health care workers.
The prices of medication and disinfectants have also increased drastically due to the outbreak and the flood respectively. Fearing the hospitals, many people have been trying to treat themselves with whatever medicine they feel would best suit their symptoms. Meanwhile, the price of chlorine has reportedly doubled, due to the flood; as the locals consider chlorine to be the best disinfectant for water.