As the Ebola outbreak continues to spread in West Africa – the current death toll standing at more than 1,000 – one photographer has bravely travelled to Monrovia, Liberia to chronicle work on the frontline. The pictures, by John Moore, from Getty Images, capture the harrowing scenes of families torn apart by the deadly disease, along with the medical workers battling to save the sick…
International doctors have admitted they don’t know the true scale of deaths from the deadly Ebola virus warning the disease is spreading faster than the response.
The group Doctors Without Borders (Medecin Sans Frontieres) have likened the outbreak in west Africa to a state of war and said that the epidemic could last another six months.
Meanwhile, a medical worker on the frontline of tackling the disease in Liberia says response teams are unable to document all the cases erupting as many of the sick are being hidden at home rather than taken to Ebola treatment centres.
A mother and child stand on top of a mattress in an Ebola isolation station in Liberia for suspected victims of the virus
A A sick child lies on a mattress in a former classroom in a primary school, which has been transformed into an Ebola ward
A woman stands over her husband with her head in her hands, after he staggered and fell, knocking him unconscious in an Ebola ward in Liberia
Workers wearing protective clothing and masks look on as the woman desperately tries to help her husband who has fallen to the ground
The ward, in a former primary school, is where people suspected of having the virus are sent by health workers
Patients in the Ebola isolation centre are forced to sleep on mattresses on the floor after being sent to the facility suspected of having the disease
Three-year-old Nino sits in a newly opened Ebola isolation centre set up by the Liberian health ministry in a closed school
Children sit in the isolation ward as the disease continues to spread in West Africa
Tarnue Karbbar, who works for the aid group Plan International in northern Liberia says in the last several days, up to 75 new cases a day are emerging in single districts.
He also added that those who have succumbed to the deadly virus are buried before teams can get to the area.
He said: ‘Our challenge now is to quarantine the area to successfully break the transmission.’
It comes as Joanne Liu, international president of Doctors Without Borders told reporters in Geneva on Friday that there is no sign of stopping the disease.
Getty Images staff photographer John Moore wears protective clothing, knows as personal protective equipment (PPE), before joining a Liberian burial team set to remove the body of an Ebola victim from her home
Neighbours watch as a son prepares his father to be taken to an Ebola isolation centre yesterday
The facility was constructed to house a surging number of patients diagnosed with Ebola in three west African countries
An Ebola victim is loaded on to a truck by a government burial team at a facility in Kailahun in Sierra Leone
The team then spray the coffin with disinfectant at the facility set up by Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders)
A man carries a child through the streets near an Ebola isolation ward. Ebola, which causes a high fever, bleeding and vomiting, has no cure and no licensed treatment
She said: ‘We’re running behind a train that is going forward.
‘And it literally is faster than what we’re bringing in terms of a response.’
The doctors’ warnings come as a World Health Organisation official claimed that Ebola treatment centres are filling up faster than they can be provided in west Africa.
WHO spokesman in Geneva Gregory Hartl said: ‘The flood of patients into every newly opened treatment center is evidence that the numbers aren’t keeping up.’
A security guard walks atop the roof of an abandoned hotel in Monrovia
Chinese doctors put on protective clothing and masks before starting work at the Harman Road Hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leon
Chinese doctors came to the hospital, which had to have an overall disinfection after receiving a patient with Ebola. Right, a doctor works in the ophthalmologist clinic in the King Harman Hospital, which has treated Ebola patients
He added that an 80-bed treatment centre opened in Liberia’s capital Monrovia in recent days and filled up immediately. The next day, dozens more people showed up to be treated.
Meanwhile, he said that experts who are going house-to-house in Kenema, Sierra Leone, in search of infected people are discovering more cases.
Earlier the UN organisation had said the epidemic had been ‘vastly’ underestimated and that extraordinary measures are needed to contain the disease.
The Geneva-based organisation said in a statement that it was co-ordinating a ‘massive scale-up of the international response’ in a bid to tackle the spread of the Ebola.
The death toll from the condition has now climbed to 1,069 with most victims in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.
The WHO said in the statement: ‘The outbreak is expected to continue for some time. WHO’s operational response plan extends over the next several months.
A soldier from Sierra Leone stands near an Ebola information poster in Kenema district, which is being described as the ‘epicentre’ of the outbreak
A group of women and children wait outside a health centre in Kandopleu, Ivory Coast near the border with affected Ebola countries Guinea and Liberia
‘Staff at the outbreak sites see evidence that the numbers of reported cases and deaths vastly underestimate the magnitude of the outbreak.
‘WHO is coordinating a massive scaling up of the international response, marshalling support from individual countries, disease control agencies, agencies within the United Nations system, and others.
‘WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan held discussions with a group of ambassadors from Geneva’s United Nations missions. The meeting aimed to identify the most urgent needs within countries and match them with rapid international support.
A Liberian burial team stand together in prayer before entering a house in Monrovia to remove the body of a woman suspected of dying of Ebola. After removing the woman’s body, the workers then spray each other with disinfectant in a bid to stop the spread of the disease
‘These steps align with recognition of the extraordinary measures needed, on a massive scale, to contain the outbreak in settings characterised by extreme poverty, dysfunctional health systems, a severe shortage of doctors, and rampant fear.’
Meanwhile the International Olympic Committee announced today that it was prohibiting young athletes from the Ebola-affected region from participating in certain events at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China, which begin tomorrow.
Athletes from West Africa will not be allowed to compete in combat sports or in the swimming pool, as it is impossible to rule out the risk of potential infection, the IOC and the Nanjing Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee said in a joint statement.
Relatives and neighbours of a woman suspected of dying of Ebola watch on as a Liberian burial team prepare to enter her home to remove her body
A woman cries as the undertakers, wearing protective clothing go to remove her cousin’s body
After her body is placed on a truck and taken away, neighbours and relatives gather around to watch the vehicle depart
The rules will prevent three athletes from the region from competing in those events, the statement said.
Those from the affected region competing in other sports will also undergo regular temperature checks and physical assessments throughout the games the two committees said.
The statement added: ‘We regret that due to this issue some young athletes may have suffered twice, both from the anguish caused by the outbreak in their home countries and by not being able to compete in the Youth Olympic Games.
Andrew, 14, gets dressed before being taken to an Ebola isolation ward
‘The IOC and Organising Committee will therefore offer to each of the National Olympic Committees affected, if they wish, that their national flag will be brought into the stadium at the opening ceremony and will be hoisted at the venues.
‘The athletes who have not been able to participate will also receive in the near future an invitation from the IOC and the organising committee to come to Nanjing to take part in a sporting competition and to experience the welcoming atmosphere and spirit of the city and Jiangsu province.’
Ebola, which causes a high fever, bleeding and vomiting, has no cure and no licensed treatment.
Residents stand outside the home of a person sick with Ebola in West Point
Fishermen pull a dugout from the water in the impoverished neighbourhood of West Point in Monrovia, Liberia. People in the area suspected of contracting the Ebola virus are being brought by health workers to a temporary isolation center.