By Mario Gonzalez, Multimedia Journalist – email
Michiana is home to more than 400 Liberians. A number of them are part of the Liberian Association of Michiana, a group aiming to help in the effort to stop the spread of the Ebola virus.
The Ebola virus has killed over 700 people as it continues to spread through West Africa. The outbreak has infected over a thousand people living in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. The World Health Organization, Centers for Disease and other organizations continue their efforts to prevent the spreading of disease.
Liberian Association of Michiana member Paul M. Davies moved from Liberia and has lived in South Bend for the last 14 years. "It's very sad to be in the United States eating bacon and eggs while my people suffer," Davies said.
That is why the group has asked the Michiana community to donate or help purchase PPE, personal protective equipment. This includes surgical gloves, body suits, boots and other pieces of clothing worn by those helping to treat patients with the virus.
"We are asking our brothers and sisters to come to our aid to help us so that we can fight this through those at the front line trying to help and stop this from expanding, " member Anthony Freeman said.
The members of the association who spoke with FOX28 all say they still have family members in Liberia. Lucencee Jackson says the message of what the mood is like back home is clear when he speaks with family and friends who are there. "People are panicking. I mean the fear has grabbed the people so much that people's day to day activities have been minimized because of the fear," Jackson said.
The Centers for Disease reports there have been over 300 cases of the virus in Liberia with over 150 deaths.
The group hopes by raising awareness and sending protective equipment, they will help the fight to contain the virus. "It's not a West Africa thing, it's not an original thing, it is an international thing because anybody can get on a plane with that virus and come to the United States or any part of the world and have it spread," Davies said.
Donations can be taken to the Pentecost International Worship Center on Saturdays and Sundays. Other places also collecting are Granger Community Church, WUSB 89.7 FM, and you can also give money to the Liberian Association of Michiana account at Mutual Banks.