EVANGLEICAL CHURCH OF LIBERIA (ECOL)
EBOLA EMERGENCY RESPONSE NARRATIVE REPORT
JULY 19, 2016
REPORTING PERIOD: June 2 – July 18, 2016
Photos from the Report (PDF)
Financial Report (PDF)
The Evangelical Church of Liberia is very grateful to our donors for partnering with us to demonstrate the love of God to a hurting, needy people. Your partnership has enhanced the work of our ministry, and it has also given the church a good testimony, and we are very grateful.
In March of 2014, the first confirmed case of the deadly Ebola virus was reported in Lofa, northern Liberia having spread from the neighboring country of Guinea where it had been spreading fast and claiming many lives. By the end of 2014, Liberia became the epicenter of the deadly viral outbreak that claimed more than 10,000 lives in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. During the outbreak that lasted for a little over two years, Liberia’s already fragile health care system completely collapsed, the economy broke down and the result was chaos, trauma, death, untold suffering and pain.
Liberia was officially declared Ebola free just over two months ago, and Guinea and Sierra Leone have also been declared free of the outbreak, but the effects of the virus still linger on and will probably continue for some years to come. In the midst of this situation the Evangelical Church of Liberia through her emergency relief response, aims to demonstrate the love of God in a tangible way to the needy, and use every opportunity to share Christ.
We were able to provide relief assistance to twenty-five direct beneficiaries during the period under review. We had to target 25 due to the limitation of fund. These are additional beneficiaries who have not previously benefited from our regular relief assistance, and are all non-ECOL church members except one (an orphan). The beneficiaries included 9 Ebola survivors, 15 Ebola orphans and a mother. We also had a special case – a widow – that was a late inclusion, and we helped to do a partial renovation of her roof since it leaked very badly. Because the beneficiaries come from families, and considering our traditional extended family practice, we believe that nearly 100 people benefited from the emergency relief assistance. Each beneficiary received a package of 7 relief items which included the following: one 25 kg. bag of rice, a 3 gal. container of refined oil, a dozen of bath soap, 20 pcs of laundry soap, one pc. of mosquito net, one pack of cube (for cooking), and two tubes of toothpaste. A package was sometimes doubled based on the family size and/or condition of the beneficiary.
Some of the beneficiaries were recruited from trauma healing small groups we facilitated for Ebola survivors, or from assessment done in vulnerable communities. We verified and obtained copies of Ebola survivors’ certificates to make sure they were our target beneficiaries. A few of them could not locate their certificates but we were able to confirm that they were survivors. You will find the certificates of survivors along with the photos we have attached. Ebola survivors here still face serious health problems left on by Ebola, and they also still face stigmatization in many communities. Our team also reached out to the communities and churches to help people to accept survivors and helped them rebuild their lives. Some of the survivors have visual problems, weakness, stomach ache, memory loss, etc.
Ebola orphans are in the care of family members or “good Samaritan” community members. We ensure that they are accompanied by their caretakers to receive their relief items, and we follow them up for assessment and counseling where possible. By the time the fund arrived, most primary schools were closed or about to close so we did not pay tuition for orphans, but we rather used the allocation to increase needy relief items. If funds are available for the next relief response, we intend to provide tuition that will enable orphans to be in school.
Additionally, we were able to do partial renovation of the homes of two of the beneficiaries. The roofs of both Grace Gibson (female, age 60 and widow) and Ezetta (female, adult) leaked very badly and had been in need of repair for more than 2 years, contributing to health problems (especially during the wet season) for they and the children who live with them. Help came through our assistance and they now have new metal zinc roofs over the worst affected parts of the roof. Please see attached photos.
Stanley Juah, an Ebola survivor, who lost his entire family (wife and four children) to Ebola, broke down in tears when we visited him, and this was what he said: “Pastors, I am so grateful for this help from you. You make me find reason to live. You make me feel like a human again. You are like my new family. No one else cares to visit me beside you. Thank you so much for the food. And thank you so much for the trauma healing class I benefited from. Please give my thanks to your donors too.”
Rita R. Saah, caretaker-grandmother of 2 Ebola orphans (Rita – age 6, and Mercy – age 3), told us when we surprised her with the relief items for the children: “I am so happy today and it’s like I am dreaming. It has been very difficult for me to find food for myself and the little ones, or to even get them in school since their parents died. I have been praying and praying, but my pains only increase. I am so happy for such a great, big help. God really cares for us. Thank you so much.