Liberian Refugees at the Gondama Refugee Camp in Southern Sierra Leone are presently languishing in pain, despair and frustration as most of the patients are painfully dying while others are still lying by their bedside to rot.
This press recently visited Gondama Camp and observed that most of the refugees are sick, malnourished, emaciated and are living in abject poverty without the attention of concerned authorities.
Two (2) year-old Hassanatu Tarawalie is suffering from hydrocephalus, since her skeleton neck had to lean on her mother’s arms to support the head for a photo. She is visibly malnourished and emaciated; as she has been in this situation since birth.
It was heart rending when her mother Isatu Tarawalie explained the predicament that has befallen her only child.
In tears, Isatu explained that happiness is not on her side as her daughter’s situation gets worsen by the day.
She called on Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to come to her rescue and help her only daughter.
The sick mostly lie down on the floor inside a broken mud hut, roofed with thatches or trampoline and supported by sticks underneath as flies, mosquitoes and lizards roam about.
The children’s eyes are bulging and listless, their shoulder blades jab out of their emaciated backs and their heads and bloated bellies seem grotesquely huge next to their shriveled limbs staggering to stand with their skeleton feet.
Most of the refugees are suffering from malnutrition and other related diseases. The level of suffering and misery owing to the lack of food, clean water and medical assistance is almost beyond comprehension.
Judging by the number of pregnant women and children dying everyday at the camp, one would say that it is a horrible position to be a refugee; they are desperately hungry and are willing to take the risk of disease by consuming water and eating food that may not be healthy.
The Country’s healthcare delivery system is in a poor state; beset with many problems such as the insufficient financial resources and lack of trained and qualified medical personnel.
Fatmata Mbonda, aged 11 is a Liberian Refugee under Police Protection at Gondama. She is malnourished and dressed in rags, lying on a haggard mat beneath her mother’s arm; crying of severe pain as her mother narrates her predicament in tears. “My daughter is dying slowly in pain, in front of my eyes. She lamented.
She had contacted this illness at the Gondama Police Post where she is receiving protection from an unknown assailant, who had attacked them a year ago; the entire Mbonda family has been sleeping under Police protection amidst stench and mosquitoes. Most of the sick refugees at the Camp need medical attention outside the Country, because there are no doctors to handle their cases. A physician at the camp told this press that children and adults die everyday
The emergency health care delivery at the camp is undertaken by Medisan San Frontier (MSF) and most cases have been reported to the referral center but the suffering still continues. By Saidu Bah