Ebola Crisis Overwhelms Liberian Capital
photo by John Moore (Getty Images)

01

Omu Fereneh stands over her husband Ibrahim after he fell, knocking him unconscious in an Ebola holding center on August 15, 2014 in the West Point township of Monrovia, Liberia. He died the same day.
The Liberian capital was quickly overwhelmed by the epidemic in late summer, as the Ebola virus moved from a rural to an urban environment, making Monrovia the Ebola epicenter in West Africa.
Only a decade after a long civil war, Liberia's fragile health system was unable to cope, international agencies were slow to react, and fear gripped the nation.

01

Liberian health worker speaks with families in a classroom now used as Ebola isolation ward on August 15, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia.
People suspected of contracting the Ebola virus are being brought to the center, a closed primary school originally built by USAID, while larger facilities are being constructed to house the surging number of patients.

03

A girl whose father died earlier in the morning lies sick in the West Point favella on August 16, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia.
Poor sanitation and close living quarters have contributed to the spread of the Ebola virus, which is transmitted through bodily fluids, often when people are caring for a sick family member.

04

Liberian riot policemen enforce a quarantine on the West Point slum on August 20, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia.
The quarantine of West Point, a congested favella of 75,000 people, began Wednesday, as the government tries to stop the spread of the virus in the capital city.

05

A burial team from the Liberian Red Cross sprays disinfectant over the body of a woman suspected of dying of the Ebola virus on August 14, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia.
Teams retrieved dozens of bodies from all over the capital of Monrovia, where the Ebola virus spread quickly last summer.

06

People cover their mouth as a crowd prepared to enter an Ebola holding center in the West Point township on August 16, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia.
A mob of several hundred people forced open the gates and took out the patients, many saying that the Ebola epidemic is a hoax.
Others were afraid of catching the disease, although it is not airborne and can only be transmitted through bodily fluids.

07

Local residents gather around Saah Exco, 7, dehydrated and weak, in a back alley of the West Point slum on August 19, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia.
The boy had been pulled out of a holding center for suspected Ebola patients when the facility was overrun by a mob two days before.
A local clinic then refused to treat the boy, according to residents, because of the danger of infection.Saah died the following day.

08

Local government official tries to convince West Point township residents of the reality of the Ebola epidemic.
Many Liberians were skeptical of the disease, which hampered efforts to control the epidemic.

09

A man runs with a crying girl after taking her out of an Ebola observation center in the West Point township of Monrovia, Liberia on August 16, 2014.
A crowd, angry that the Liberian government had opened an Ebola center in their neighborhood, pushed their way in and overran the facility, removing the patients and looting the mattresses.

10

A woman crawls towards the body of her sister as Ebola burial team members take her for cremation on October 10, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia.
The woman had died outside her home earlier in the morning while trying to walk to a treatment center, according to her relatives.
The burial of loved ones is important in Liberian culture, making the removal of infected bodies for cremation all the more traumatic for surviving family members.

11

A Liberian Army soldier, part of Liberia's Ebola Task Force, beats a local resident while enforcing a quarantine on the West Point slum on August 20, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. The government ordered the quarantine of West Point, a congested seaside slum of 75,000, in an effort to stop the spread of the virus in the capital city..
The quarantine proved impossible to enforce and was lifted after 10 days.

12

A burial team from the Liberian Red Cross unloads the bodies of Ebola victims onto a funeral pire at a crematorium on August 22, 2014 in Marshall, Liberia.
The Ebola virus is most contagious in the corpses of the recently deceased, and the Liberian government ordered that all victims in the capital city be cremated.

13

Sophia Doe sits with her grandchildren, while watching the arrival an Ebola burial team to take away the body of her daughter for cremation on October 10, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia.
The children seen in the photo are daughters of the deceased.

14

A Liberian health worker takes the temperature of U.S. Marines arrive as part of some 3000 troops America sent to West Africa in response to the Ebola epidemic.
International Aid organizations, with few exceptions, responded late to the epidemic, with many treatment centers built after the worst of the crisis.

15

A Doctors Without Borders (MSF), health worker in protective clothing carries a child suspected of having Ebola in the MSF treatment center on October 5, 2014 in Paynesville, Liberia. The girl and her mother, both showing symptoms of the virus, survived and were released about a week later.