Liberian Minister: More Help Needed
As U.S. soldiers arrive in Liberia to help with the fight against Ebola, Liberia’s Minister of Information Lewis Brown is hopeful this will be a turning point for his country. However, he said, more help is needed to stop the epidemic, which has affected Liberia more than any nation in the Ebola zone. For VOA, Benno Muechler interviewed Lewis Brown in Liberia’s capital, Monrovia.
Q: Schools are not running. Many government ministries are not fully working. Is Liberia falling apart?
A: At the moment it doesn’t mean that our country is falling apart. But the truth of the matter is, if nothing is done, if we do not get the kind of support that we’re beginning to see and hear of, and in a rather quick and flexible way, given the unprecedented spread of this virus, we may see that happening. And what we’re trying to do is to work as best as we can to make sure, along with our international partners, that we never get to that point.
Q: So you would see the U.S. involvement right now as a turning point?
A: We’d like to think so. We think that the assistance from the government of the United States is timely. We’d like to see more of such assistance from other governments of the world… Because as this virus continues to attack lives, what is under increasing attack is the livelihood of people: The way people have lived. Businesses have been shut down. So, the economy is grinding to a halt. Our estimates have been projected downward from an estimated 5.9 percent growth potential this year. We’re talking about 2.5 percent. By all counts that is a regression, we’re in a kind of recession. If nothing is done quickly, it could continue to spiral downward.