On 9th May 2015, Liberia was declared free of Ebola four hundred and five days after the disease was confirmed in the country. This is great news.
We are thankful for the sake of not only the people of Liberia, but in particular our loyal staff who continued to work hard throughout the epidemic. While some organizations closed operations in the Ebola affected countries, Vallis Commodities Limited (Vallis) continued to operate in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea and to fulfil its contractual obligations.
The current outbreak of Ebola was confirmed in northern Liberia on 30th March last year by the World Health Organization. So this has been a long, hard road requiring great fortitude from our staff in Liberia. The fight against the disease involved challenging the traditions of the country and changing them. This had to occur at a particularly vulnerable time, just when people drew strength from their heritage and customs.
Ebola is a frightening disease and its onset is sudden. As we have learned, it is fatal in 50 to 90% of cases. We know that the epidemic will have put the entire population under great strain; that is why the Vallis directors paid special bonuses to our staff to help alleviate some of the practical aspects of dealing with Ebola. Even so, the emotional pressures placed on the people are not to be underestimated.
Ebola killed almost 5,000 people in Liberia and has left many surviving victims who have been affected indirectly. In particular, the disease has created many orphans. Vallis has recently helped considerably the Mother Victoria Orphanage (MVO) which has taken in many children whose parents fell victim to the disease. Additionally, the Vallis Liberia staff members have been most generous in giving their time and effort to helping the MVO get on its feet. As many of you will have seen from previous enewsletters, Vallis also gave $10,000 to the British Red Cross effort to help fight Ebola.
Finally, we must continue to think of those in Guinea and Sierra Leone, where the Ebola outbreak is still to be fully beaten.