One Liberian church loses nine members to Ebola

REUTERS/Josephus Olu-Mam

A church in central Liberia has been devastated by Ebola, having lost nine members to the virus and with several more currently undergoing treatment.

Rev Namo Baxton of the United Methodist Church in the village of Taylor-ta, told UMC news that nine members of his congregation have now died, including a deaconess and the vice-president of the local young adult group.

His wife is also currently in an Ebola Treatment Unit, along with thirteen other residents.

Baxton said the outbreak happened after a man from the village brought back his young son who had previously been living with a relative who died of Ebola.

Despite the boy showing signs of the disease, the father refused treatment. The young man died on November 3, by which point "the town was already afflicted with the virus and within the space of one week we lost 12 persons while others are languishing in an ETU," Baxton said.

The superintendent of the Gbarnga District has called for "collective assistance and prayers" in the wake of the crisis, and said faith leaders in the region are working to help those in need.

Last week, celebrities including Matt Damon, Ellie Goulding, Ben Affleck and Morgan Freeman appeared in an ad launched by advocacy group ONE, criticising the slow response to the Ebola crisis.

The video features the individuals sitting in silence – waiting.

"This is what waiting looks like," text on the screen reads. "Talk is cheap. It's time to take action on Ebola."

ONE President and CEO Michael Elliott said that not enough is being done to combat the disease's spread.

"Some countries have now stepped up to lead in a big way — with traditional donors like the US, UK, France and Germany all making meaningful contributions — but this is a global crisis, and it demands a global response," he said in a statement.

2,963 Liberians have so far died from the disease. The US-based Centre for Disease Control and Prevention is still advising people to avoide nonessential travel to Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.