Will a Quarantine Save Sierra Leone, or Push It to the Brink?


This past Saturday, the government of Sierra Leone declared a mandatory quarantine for the entire country starting on September 18. For three days, everyone must stay home to give authorities a chance get a step ahead of the disease. Across the country, people are already beginning to doubt the effectiveness of this plan.

Yusuf Johnny is a resident of Kenema, the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, and OneVillage Partner staff member. He told me he doesn’t think it will work the way the authorities intend. “It will create more problems,” Yusuf told me. “There are thousands of people here in Kenema that survive day-to-day. They won’t be able to have enough to feed themselves, and the government won’t be helping them during those three days.”

Josephine Seilu lives in Jokibu, a village in the east of Sierra Leone. She says that it might be a step in the right direction. “After the state of emergency was called, people were still moving from here to there and this was dangerous. They were contracting the disease,” she said. Despite this, she sees struggle ahead. “We will try to manage [during the lockdown], but I know it will create hunger.”