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50 Ebola orphans abandoned in Bong

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More than 50 children made orphans by the deadly Ebola Virus in Gbolokai-ta, Bong County are said to be without care and support from the Government of Liberia or Non-Governmental Organizations. Liberia was declared freed twice, but the virus reemerged recently in the Monrovia suburb of Paynesville, killing a 15-year-old boy.

There are over 4,500 boys and girls across the Country, who has become orphans because of Ebola, according to the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection.
The Liberian government identified and documented 2,200 boys and 2,372 girls, who have lost either one or both parents to the Ebola virus.

One of the challenges Ebola orphans and affected children face is lack of education. Many Ebola-affected children live in rural Liberia where it’s difficult to travel to and from school.

The orphans in Bong County are also said to be facing psychological trauma. Gbolokai-tai Town Chief, John Youku, said the more than 50 kids whose parents died of the virus in the town, were abandoned by government since July 16, 2014.

Gbolokai-tai is a small town in Bong that was hardest hit during the peak of the Ebola Virus outbreak last year. More than 150 persons were reportedly killed by the virus in the town alone, leaving behind more than 50 kids now orphans.

Due to the Ebola outbreak in the town, fear grasped the Town Chief and residents of the town, something that led to the relocation of the town, leaving the old place unattended to, fearing that the virus may reemerge.

Over the weekend in Bong County, Chief Youku said residents of the town are seriously disappointed in the government for abandoning them, particularly the kids made orphans by Ebola.

Chief Youku said since the incident last year, no government official has gone in the town to look after the children, saying it is women of the town who volunteer to take care of them.

He said one NGO visited the town in September 2014 and provided some food items, but since then no one, including government has gone back to check on the kids.
“We are the one struggling to take care of these children; we cannot abandon them because they are part of us, but we are suffering with the kids, no food, no sleeping place; we need help for them,” Chief Youku pleaded.

He however praised the political leader of the opposition party Movement for Progressive Change, Simeon Freeman for going in the town and inquiring about the kids.
Mr. Freeman had gone in the town to appear on a radio program, “The Dialogue” produced by Liberian broadcast Journalist, John Kollie.

By Ethel A. Tweh-Edited by Jonathan Browne

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