The government of Sierra Leone banned public Christmas and New Year’s celebrations because they may exacerbate efforts to eradicate the Ebola virus.
President Ernest Bai Koroma said that despite immense help from the international community, the number of people infected with the virus continues to rise.
Ebola infections in Sierra Leone recently surpassed those of Liberia and Guinea.
“The illness started at the border and now is in the cities and close to 2,000 people have died from the outbreak,” Koroma told reporters. He asked traditional leaders and tribal chiefs to quit performing rituals in hopes that will help curb Ebola.
The majority of Sierra Leone’s 6 million people are Muslim, but Christmas is widely celebrated among the 27 percent of people who are Christian.
Officials said soldiers will be deployed on the streets and people are advised to stay at home with their families.
In the aftermath of former Liberian president, Charles Taylor's conviction for war crimes this week, author Greg Campbell writes for The Atlantic that the children of neighboring Sierra Leone still suffer in abject poverty:
Ten years after the end of Sierra Leone's bloody civil war over control of its diamond fields, children as young as 3 years old continue to toil in its mines, hoping at best to earn a few pennies for food in a country still wracked by extreme poverty.
Read his full piece here
When I moved to Washington, D.C., I—like perhaps most other 20-somethings—imagined this place as a hub of both political thought and non-profit zeal; the coexistence of both worlds, all to change society. Lofty ideals, right? Perhaps.
Ideal, meet the venue Busboys and Poets plus friends and co-laborers in the fight for justice: Faiths Act, ONE, Malaria No More, and the 9/11 Unity Walk. Last night, a handful of musicians and spoken-word artists united in faith and activism under a common cause: World Malaria Day concert for Sierra Leone.