'We are losing our humanity' in the face of the disease, said Bishop Anthony Fallah Borwah
The World Health Organization celebrated what it called a “spectacular success story” late last month when it declared Nigeria to be free of the Ebola virus that had infected 19 people in the country, seven of whom died. But elsewhere, the situation remains grim. A report issued by the WHO on Oct. 17 said that 4,555 people had died of the disease in seven affected countries, with the worst outbreaks continuing to be in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
In an interview with Catholic News Service, Bishop Anthony Fallah Borwah of Gbarnga, Liberia, said "whole families are being decimated."
"It is the poor who have been most harmed" by the Ebola outbreak "and it is the poor who are the Church's priority," Bishop Borwah said. "We are losing our humanity in the face of Ebola," he added, noting that "this disease makes impossible ordinary human kindnesses, such as putting your arm around someone who is crying."
He pleaded with the international Church community "to pay attention to what is happening here" and the "pain and hurt that the Ebola onslaught is causing families." Noting Pope Francis' repeated emphasis on mercy and service to the poor, Bishop Borwah said that "serious effort from Church leaders to stand with us in our human misery" would help the people of affected West African countries.
Catholic Relief Services announced Oct. 15 that it is committing $1.5 million in private funds to continue its emergency response to affected countries.
"We know that education is the only way to stop Ebola," Carolyn Woo, CRS president and CEO, said in a letter. In addition to education efforts, Woo said, CRS is distributing food and hygiene supplies, providing counseling and evaluating long-term needs.
How to help
To donate, go to CRS.org.
Catholic News Service contributed to this report.