As Ebola threatens Freetown…


London Mining, others suspend staff travelling to Sierra Leone

By Mohamed Massaquoi

Information reaching Concord Times has revealed that foreign mining companies in Sierra Leone have suspended all non-essential staff travel to Sierra Leone because of the recent outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in the country, as the death toll from suspected cases of the virus gradually increases.

Suspected cases of the disease – which has a fatality rate of up to 90 percent – were being reported in Kailahun where two people are reported to have died while more than seven are currently hospitalised at the Kenema government hospital.

Reports have it that the mining companies were more concerned about development in the densely populated city of Makeni where most of their foreign staff are based, although there are no reported cases of the tropical virus in that part of the country.

London Mining Public Relations Officer, Osman Lahai, told Concord Times that the company has increased its assessment risk level because of reported cases of Ebola in Sierra Leone.

“Employees are encouraged to pay strict attention to hygiene. The company [has] suspended all non-essential travel of its staff to Sierra Leone. We are also proactively monitoring the health of our employees and conducting compulsory body temperature screening on our mine site,” Mr. Lahai told Concord Times. “We continue working closely with the government of Sierra Leone, the World Health Organization and other international agencies to monitor the situation and supporting efforts to raise community awareness about the disease.”

Meanwhile, African Minerals officials failed to respond to questions regarding the issue, but impeccable sources within the company confirm that some expatriates have already left the country, apparently for fear of their health safety.

Nearly 200 people have died of Ebola in West Africa since an outbreak was first reported in Guinea in March.

There is no cure or vaccine for Ebola – one of the world’s deadliest viruses.

But people have a better chance of surviving if it is identified early and they get supportive medical care.

Ebola can kill up to 90% of those infected and is passed on through contact with the fluids of infected people or animals, such as urine, sweat and blood.