With the Ebola outbreak Africa as yet uncontained, the Peace Corps is temporarily moving more than 300 volunteers out of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Two volunteers had come in contact with someone infected with the virus and were isolated to ensure that they are not sick.
This from the Peace Corps
WASHINGTON, D.C., July 30, 2014 – The Peace Corps today announced that it is temporarily removing its volunteers from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea due to the increasing spread of the Ebola virus. The agency has been and will continue to closely monitor the outbreak of the virus in collaboration with leading experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of State.
The Peace Corps has enjoyed long partnerships with the government and people of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea and is committed to continuing volunteers’ work there. A determination on when volunteers can return will be made at a later date.
In recent months, the Peace Corps has provided volunteers in adjacent areas of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea with guidance to ensure they take the utmost precautions to protect their health. Transmission of Ebola virus requires direct contact with bodily fluids from a sick, infected individual, and individuals who are infected but not yet sick are not considered contagious. For more information on the Ebola virus, please visit www.cdc.gov.
There are currently 102 volunteers in Guinea working in the areas of education, agriculture and health; and 108 volunteers in Liberia and 130 volunteers in Sierra Leone working in education. All Peace Corps programs have emergency action plans specific to that country in place, and staff and volunteers are trained and prepared to respond in situations like this one.
NBC reported that volunteers were surprised on the suddenness and were reluctant to leave:
Peace Corps volunteers being evacuated from three West African nations hit by an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus expressed both nervousness and disappointment Thursday as they prepared to leave the villages and towns where they have lived for months or years.
“It’s been sudden – no one expected it to get to this point,” one volunteer currently working in Guinea told NBC News. “… To a lot of people, it’s scary to think that they might not be able to finish what they started.”