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Ebola Devastates Whole Villages in Sierra Leone

Ebola Devastates Whole Villages in Sierra Leone
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In Sierra Leone's Darru district, the remote village of Njallah Geima is one of the worst hit by Ebola. Since May, more than half of the 200 people who live there have been infected with Ebola, killing 61 of them in just eight weeks.

The remote village sits on a single road. James Bayone is a social worker from Darru who now helps support what is left of this devastated community.

He said Ebola wiped out entire families.

“You have a lot of orphans here, a lot of orphans. They are now just left with foster parents. All these children they are left with their grandfather, their mothers died and other relatives, they all are left with their grandfather,” he explained.

Many orphaned children

Sixty-five year old Arabic teacher Foday Konneh has been left to care for 31 children, 18 are orphans.

“The children many of them are here to learn Arabic, but some of the children are victims of this Ebola, their parents died. They were here with me when there parents died, now they have no other place to go," Konneh said.

"So I had to embrace them, to take care of them and cater for them. But to earn a living, it is really difficult sometimes, it is hard,” Konneh said.

With a failing health system, many people like Foday are left with little support.

Bayone said when Ebola struck the village, they were cut off, nobody came to help.

"Everybody abandoned them. As long as you said you were from Njallah Geima, everybody would abandon you," he said. "So it's a little bit easy for them."

Ebola survivor, lost his twin, many others

Solomon Jauad lives with his family on the edge of the village. He survived Ebola, but lost many family members.

“He says the whole house, if you are looking at the whole house, it was 14 people who died and three ... were brothers,” Bayone said.

This room has been locked since his twin brother's death. Solomon said he was afraid to go for treatment.

The room is all but untouched. Pictures of family still hang on the walls. Cigarettes his brother sold sit on a shelf.

Solomon said he was the last person to die in the village.

Bayone said Ebola has touched every part of this community.

“There is not a house in this town that was not affected, whether direct or indirectly that was affected," he said.

When Ebola came to Njallah, many people ran away, frightened of those infected.

Baby found abandoned, rejected by relatives

Baby Bandu was found locked in an empty house with her sister who later died of Ebola.

Veronica Kamara said Bandu is just 18 months old.

“They were in the village both of them, herself and her elder sister who was seven years old, they were abandoned in the village in a house where there were only two of them in that house, and they were brought here by contract tracers to this center," she stated.

Veronica said she has tracked down relatives of the child, but they rejected her.

Even now many communities are struggling to recover from the destruction of the Ebola epidemic.