Ebola Crisis: West African Children Orphaned by Disease Accused of Witchcraft, Shunned By Villagers

( [email protected] ) Oct 10, 2014 02:39 PM EDT
Children in West Africa orphaned due to the deadly Ebola virus are shunned by their local communities due to a fear of witchcraft and black magic.
Children are forced to handle the death of parent as well as isolation from their community due to the deadly Ebola outbreak (Photo: SOS Children's Village)

As the Ebola virus continues its deadly sweep of West Africa, hundreds of children are left orphaned and ostracized by their communities due to the superstition of witchcraft and black magic.

"There's a strong belief in witchcraft that Ebola is contracted through a curse or in some cases that it is a white man's fabrication," said Jamie Bedson, charity Restless Development's Sierra Leone country director, according to The Financial Times.

"There is a mistrust of foreigners, and in one place everyone threw away soap given out by the government because they thought it was poisoned."

According to Fides News Agency, 310 children have been orphaned as a result of the Ebola outbreak, and another 600-700 remain quarantined in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea.

The Agency reports that children are not only forced to cope with the loss of family members, but also the preconceived notions of witchcraft.

"These children are lost and alone, completely isolated from their villages and even from extended family members," revealed Linda Strowski, who works in a Liberian orphanage.

"A fear of witchcraft is rooted very deeply in these communites."

Thus far, a reported 3,800 people have died due to Ebola throughout West Africa, and the disease has hit several American citizens who have since returned to their home.

Currently, In Texas, a county sheriff deputy was quarantined after visiting the home of the first person diagnosed with Ebola on US soil, who later died from the virus

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Thomas Frieden, the Ebola outbreak is the biggest world health crisis since HIV/AIDS.

""This is a fluid and heterogeneous epidemic. It's changing quickly, and it's going to be a long fight," Frieden said while speaking at the World Bank forum in Washington, D.C. "I will say that in the 30 years I've been working in public health, the only thing like this has been AIDS. We have to work now so this is not the world's next AIDS."

The U.S. has responded to the outbreak overseas by sending over 3,000 medical troops to West Africa. The American personnel will help build treatment tents and educate the local population on Ebola prevention measures.