Fear and tension have been building in Monrovia for days and West Point has been one of the flash points. Many residents feel the government has not done enough to protect them from the spread of Ebola.
Getty Images photographer John Moore’s powerful photographs document the plight of the residents of West Point.
A Liberian Army soldier, part of the Ebola Task Force, beats a local resident while enforcing a quarantine on the West Point slum. The government ordered the quarantine of West Point, a congested seaside slum of 75,000, in an effort to stop the spread of the virus in the capital(John Moore/Getty Images)
A Liberian Army soldier chases a resident while enforcing a quarantine on the West Point slum in an effort to contain the virus(John Moore/Getty Images)
An Ebola Task Force officer walks into the West Point slum as the military began enforcing a quarantine on the congested favela of 75,000(John Moore/Getty Images)
West Point residents raided an Ebola screening centre over the weekend, accusing officials of bringing sick people from all over Monrovia into their neighbourhood. In many areas of the capital, meanwhile, dead bodies have lain in the streets for hours, sometimes days, even though residents asked that the corpses be picked up by Health Ministry workers wearing protective gear.
Mattresses thought to be looted from an Ebola isolation centre float in a seaside dump in the West Point slum in Monrovia. The mattresses, contaminated with blood and faeces, were looted from the facility after it was overrun by a mob on Saturday(John Moore/Getty Images)
The Ebola outbreak, which began in December, has killed at least 1,229 people in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.
Liberia has the highest death toll, and its number of cases is rising the fastest. In response, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf ordered West Point sealed off and imposed a nighttime curfew, saying authorities have not been able to curtail the spread of Ebola in the face of defiance of their recommendations.
West Point Commissioner Miata Flowers is escorted out of the slum by members of Liberia’s Ebola Task Force. The military was called in to extract the commissioner and her family from the seaside slum after residents blamed the government for planning a holding centre for suspected Ebola patients in their community(John Moore/Getty Images)
Family members of West Point district commissioner Miata Flowers flee the slum while being escorted by the Ebola Task Force(John Moore/Getty Images)
At least 50,000 people live on the half-mile-long point, which is one of the poorest and most densely populated neighbourhoods of the capital. Sanitation is poor even in the best of times, and defecation in the streets and beaches is a major problem.
A boy rakes faeces into a hole on the beach in the West Point slum in Monrovia. With a population of 75,000 people in a small area with poor sanitation, sickness is common in the township(John Moore/Getty Images)
Mistrust of authorities is rampant in this poorly served area, where many people live without electricity or access to clean water.
Authorities here have struggled to treat and isolate the sick, in part because of widespread fear that treatment centres are places where people go to die. Many sick people have hidden in their homes, relatives have sometimes taken their loved ones away from health centres, and mobs have occasionally attacked health workers.
Ten-year-old Saah Exco lies in a back alley of the West Point slum in Monrovia, Liberia. The boy was one of the patients pulled out of a holding centre for suspected Ebola patients when the facility was overrun by a mob on Saturday. A local clinic refused to treat the boy, according to residents, because of the danger of infection(John Moore/Getty Images)
Local residents gather around Saah Exco, 10, in the West Point slum. A local clinic refused to treat the boy, according to residents, because of the danger of infection, although the boy was never tested for Ebola(John Moore/Getty Images)
Residents dress Saah Exco, 10, after bathing him. According to a community organiser, Saah’s mother died of suspected but untested Ebola in West Point before he was brought to the isolation centre with his brother, Tamba, 6, aunt Ma Hawa, and cousins. His brother died on August 15. Saah fled the centre with several other patients before it was overrun on August 16 by a mob. Once out in the neighbourhood, he was not sheltered, as he had suspected Ebola – so he has been sleeping outside. The whereabouts and condition of his aunt and cousins, who left the facility when it was overran by the crowd, is still unknown(John Moore/Getty Images)
At least 1,229 people have died of Ebola in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria in the current outbreak, and more than 2,240 have fallen ill with the virus, according to the World Health Organisation. The fastest-rising number of cases has been reported in Liberia, with at least 466 dead.
A member of the Church of Aladura prays for God to rescue Liberia from Ebola, on the beach in Monrovia(John Moore/Getty Images)
Two men pray on the beach in Monrovia, calling for God to help Liberia during the current Ebola crisis(John Moore/Getty Images)
GIST: By Francois S W Simpson