As Ebola Spreads in Sierra Leone, New Haven Launches Campaign to Help
Amid news of an alarming increase in new Ebola cases in Sierra Leone, the city of New Haven has announced plans to try and help its sister city there.
Sierra Leone is one of the West African nations hardest hit by the Ebola crisis. Ibrahim Conteh, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Sierra Leone Embassy in Washington, said the number of cases there is rising.
"Because of ignorance -- because of lack of proper messaging among the people, cultural practices -- the cases are still increasing," Conteh said. "But the international community has now come on board to really bring some assistance to stop this epidemic."
Conteh visited New Haven lsat week for the announcement of a campaign to combat the Ebola crisis in Freetown, New Haven’s sister city. Mayor Toni Harp has formed an emergency committee which hopes to raise enough funds for the purchase of ambulances that will be stocked with medical supplies and sent to Freetown.
Ambassador Conteh said Ebola must be the concern of the international community. "This is a virus which is very deadly," he said. "And unless we stop it from the three affected countries -- Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea -- it has the potential to go global as its already manifested itself in the United States and Europe. So let us all come together to stop this virus from the source."
New Haven public schools, local businesses, and universities including Yale, Southern Connecticut State University, University of New Haven, and Albertus Magnus are joining the effort.
New Haven’s connection to Sierra Leone dates back to the 19th century and the slave ship Amistad, when the Africans aboard revolted against their captors and won the right to return home to Sierra Leone.