maandag 6 april 2020

Lock down in Sierra Leone

Seeing nasty video footage circulating on Facebook of the first of three days lock down in Sierra Leone, showing military and police beating up young men in the streets with sticks. I'm not going to share these videos, since they are unpleasant to watch and I can't check the source. One comment is stating that the ministry of defence confirmed one severe beating of a mentally ill man by police and military officers in Freetown. According to this comment the officers are arrested. 

The goal of the three day lock down is not quite clear, since it's (supposed to be) total but short. Maybe it's meant to be a "stand still" to give the health services some time to prepare, now the first case of corona is confirmed in Sierra Leone. 

During the ebola crisis all schools and universities were closed for a year. There also were a few short lockdowns, during which special teams went door to door to check on people, inform them about the epidemic and give them instructions on hygiene. By the way, ironically, a lady friend told me in those days that they had received a hygiene support package with among other things a block of hand soap, whereas the instructions advised not to use such soap but fluid soap or hand sanitizer. But this was over five years ago and West Africa did overcome the ebola epidemic. Hopefully the new corona virus won't hit the country as hard again, and for sure there's a lot of awareness and experience now. Still, those images of beatings by officials are worrying.

A young friend of mine told me yesterday evening he's locked down in the house without any food or money. Shops, street trade and also money agencies are closed, so he cannot go out to buy some food. Later today he told me, to my relief, that a good friend in the neighborhood helped him to some food. It's hard to see good friends going through a difficult time again, now "we are all in this together".

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