MONROVIA, Liberia, January 22, 2015—The U.S. Embassy in Liberia released a statement today announcing that the U.S. State Department cancelled its travel warning to U.S. citizens travelling to Liberia because of the decreased spread of the Ebola virus.
The Embassy said there had been major accomplishments in the fight against Ebola since August 7 when the warning went into effect, and for the first time they were seeing lower rates of new infections and a reduced demand at Ebola treatment facilities.
“Embassy Monrovia now has access to pre-Ebola level health care,” the Embassy said, “and most of the clinics and hospitals that were available and adequate for at least outpatient referral prior to the Ebola epidemic have re-opened.”
Dr. Mark Allison, Chairman of the Free Presbyterian Church of North America (FPCNA) mission board, said the board continues to assess the situation on the ground and that “the embassy news sounds encouraging!”
Ulster missionary to Liberia, Miss Joanne Greer, reports that a Baptist missionary friend from the USA is returning to Liberia in mid-March to investigate a return date for his mission board. He has agreed to give a report to help the FPCNA mission board assess the situation so that Miss Greer and North American missionary Rev. David DiCanio can possibly return before the summer months.
According to Greer the missionary said that his board is setting up a special fund to evacuate their missionaries if they get Ebola. “Apparently no insurance will cover such an evacuation because of the expense that comes from such a high level of precaution needed to transport a victim,” Greer said.
Martin Gbahn, manager of the FPCNA Bookstore outside Monrovia, said on Jan 21 that even though Ebola is still present in Liberia, residents in the Paynesville area have seen fewer cases.
“I still see Red Cross [Ebola Response] vehicles passing in town,” Gbahn said. “They picked up a body yesterday near my home at the Police Academy community behind the [FPC] bookstore, but things are better.”
Gbahn also reported that government officials have stopped cremating the bodies of victims because neighbours were complaining of the burning smell and the sound of explosions. “Now they’re burying all Ebola bodies on government property off Marshall highway near the mission compound,” Gbahn said.
The three mission church pastors reported that no one else from the FPCNA congregations has become ill at this time, but they still covet prayer.
Schools open nationwide on February 2, and students will be required to have their temperature taken and wash their hands daily before entering.
The mission board asks continued prayer for the brethren in Liberia, wisdom regarding the missionaries’ return date, and for the insurance situation.