People of Faith & International Partners,
The Psalmist David says “Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you and you will give me glory” Psalm 50:15.
Brothers and sisters, this is what God says, “I will deliver thee”: that is out of trouble: as He is able, so faithful is He that hath promised, and will do it and thou shall glory Him.Ebola, a deadly virus started in early February 2014 in West Africa has become a reality. The current wave of the Ebola epidemic is unprecedented. It is wreaking havoc in Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, staring us grimly in the faces. The death rates are running high and coming closer and closer. Our people are no longer smiling and it’s almost hard to hear the Ebola jokes. Each day we wake up in West Africa and hear of more people infected – more death. It is no longer unnamed faceless victims in the rural parts of our sub – region, but people and friends that we know, or we know people who know people who are victims.
We, the people of faith recognized the severity of the situation and degree of devastation being caused to human lives in the sub – region. It is a situation we as people of God see as a public health disaster considering the socio- economic and political turmoil the sub – region is already engulfed in recent times. Ebola has become a threat to international business and investment in West Africa.
It is unfortunate that West Africa is experiencing such difficulties in areas characterized by poor public health infrastructure, hunger, chronic poverty, land grabbing and civil conflicts. The current wave of the rapid spread of Ebola Virus has taken many lives within a relatively short period of time; this is a disaster! Our people are experiencing fear, stigmatization and discrimination in the sub – region because of Ebola Virus Disease.
Since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, we have lost a huge number of health workers and support staff in their quest to help save lives. Nurses, medical doctors, and experts are being attacked by some relatives of people who have been diagnosed with Ebola. Experts have been held hostage, and their vehicles destroyed, as family members are determined to hold funeral for relatives who have died from Ebola.
We see national frontiers being barricaded, state of emergency declared, movement restricted and subjected to scrutiny, and scheduled flights canceled. We stand to reflect on the impacts of these developments on economies and livelihoods of the rural poor in West Africa. We stand in solidarity with individuals, national governments and religious groups to appeal to our international partners for help. We recognized the efforts of the World Health Organization commitment of 100 Million dollars campaign and the West Africa Health Organization efforts for the establishment of the solidarity fund to support the fight against Ebola.
We stand in prayers with individuals, families, and governments of the affected neighboring countries and communities, especially health workers, who out of patriotism, compassion and care for people have become victims to Ebola. We reflect daily on the trauma family members are subjected to from the impacts of the deadly Ebola virus in our sub – region.
Nigeria’s militant Islamist group Boko Haram continuous to cause havoc in Africa’s most populous nation through a wave of bombings, assassinations and forced abductions of teenage school girls. Boko Haram has staged more audacious attacks in northern and central Nigeria, bombing churches, bus ranks, bars, military barracks and even the police and UN Headquarters in the Capital, Abuja.
Today, Boko Haram continues its barbaric acts with its urban bombing campaign, targeting the capital on 14th April, when at least 70 people were killed in an explosion near a car park and on 2nd May when 19 people died. Boko Haram is a major threat to peace and security in the West Africa Sub – region. They continue almost on every day to commit terrorist attacks and atrocities in villages, towns and cities in Nigeria since their five years insurgency for an Islamic state which threatens to destabilize the wider region.
We welcomed the efforts of the Presidents of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia to set up their fight against the deadly Ebola virus by improving awareness of the disease and deploying additional staff in hot – spots of transmission of the disease. However, more medical personnel are needed in the three countries to supplement already stretched medical staff in Ebola treatment centers. We further appeal to the World Medical Association for additional support towards protective equipment for those in the frontline of the fight against Ebola in West Africa.
We call on the World Council of Churches based in Geneva, Switzerland and the All Africa Conference of Churches based in Nairobi to join the churches in West Africa in a holding a special Ecumenical Prayer Service on Monday, August 11, 2014 in their chapels during the morning hours to seek for God’s divine intervention to save West Africa. We are also asking churches in West Africa to hold a special pray on Sunday, August 10, 2014 for God’s mercy and forgiveness in saving our sub – region. Let’s adhere to the principles of the teaching of the church to love and care for one another in time like these. Here in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, your brothers and sisters can no longer congregate in their usual prayer centers because of fear of spreading Ebola virus to their neighbors. We also call on our international partners and churches in Europe, Northern America, Australia, Asia and all people of faith to stand with West Africa through prayers. We call on the ACT Alliance based in Geneva, Switzerland to mobilize resources to help support our governments, churches and people who are already victims of the Ebola disaster in West Africa.
It is our ardent hope and prayers that God will hear the prayers of the faithful and heal our region from calamities. Stand with us, and stand with all those who are hurting in our sub – region through prayers and supplications.
God of Life, lead us to peace and justice through the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
In Christ’s mission, with vision,
Rev. Dr. Tolbert Thomas Jallah, Jr.
Secretary – General/CEO, FECCIWA