WE BRING YOU THE FULL LENGTH VIDEO REPORT OF THE PRESS CONFERENCE , COURTESY OF MR. HAMJAT JOLLOMY BAH.
EBOLA : SIERRA LEONEANS IN NEW JERSEY CALL FOR INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO ACT FAST TO AVOID A WORLD CATASTROPHE
Sierra Leoneans in New Jersey summoned the international media last Friday and held a marathon press conference to make a very strong and unequivocal call to the international community to act very fast to avoid a continental and world catastrophe from the Ebola pandemic presently ravaging Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia in West Africa. Every speaker spared no bones to warn the international Community that time was running out and time to act was now.
Mrs. Inez Konjoh on the podium
PROFESSOR BEN JALLOH ON THE PODIUM
In the words of one of the participants at the press conference, Mrs. Sannah Smith : ‘To eradicate Ebola is not just about talking, but it is to do something and AND TO DO IT very fast. ” She and many speakers felt that the international response was very slow and she feared that by the time the international community got to West Africa , “We will all be dead.” That was the message conveyed to the international community by New Jerseyans last Friday.
The press conference, which brought together community groups and organizations in New Jersey and New York was jointly organized by the Sierra Leone community and the Franklin Municipal Township. The Franklin Township was involved to facilitate speedy relay of the message to the State authorities.
MR. FODAY MANSARAY, WHO COORDINATED THE PROGRAM, ON THE PODIUM
This grim prognostication was also highlighted by Mr. Dosso Kassimou, an Ivorian Community activist of Newark, NJ. who was very blunt to say : ” This disease will finish Africa if we are not careful “. He also called on the UN to drop food in West Africa for the people, some of whom were dying of hunger due to the quarantine of communities .
SOME OF THE PARTICIPANTS AT THE PRESS CONFERENCE : FROM RIGHT DR. FAKONDO , MS. JARIU BAH, PROFESSOR BEN JALLOH, MADAM SANNAH SMITH, MR. KASSIMOU, REV. KABS-KANU,
In his opening remarks, Dr. Philip Kramer of the Franklin Township Board , put the press conference in its right perspective : “If we do not act fast, thousands of people would die.. This is what this press conference is about .” The press conference, which was coordinated by one of the community activists in New Jersey, Mr. Foday Mansaray, was held not only to draw international attention to the Ebola scourge in West Africa, but to get the message across to the international community that they need to move fast to help contain and end the Ebola outbreak before it becomes a catastrophe to the whole world.
FROM RIGHT : MR. AMADU MASSALLAY, ——-,MR. FODAY MANSARAY, DR.FAKONDO , MADAM JARIEU BAH AND MADAM SAMMAH SMITH
Ebola is getting out of control in Sierra Leone. We are appealing to the world…Our people are suffering and we are suffering as well. Whatever help we get will be highly appreciated, said Mr. N. Tarawallie of Hope Sierra Leone, one of the organizations which collaborated with the Concerned Sierra Leoneans to end the Ebola Virus , to organize the press conference.
SOME OF THE ATTENDEES AT THE PRESS CONFERENCE
Mrs. Inez Komjoh of the Concerned Sierra Leoneans group said emphatically : “We decided to look at Ebola not just as something hitting Sierra Leone but the whole world. ” If nothing is not done immediately, she warned, Ebola will become a world issue. Her prophesy came true yesterday with the diagnosis of the first Ebola case in the United States of America.
Mr. Pavi Jalloh, another community activist, said that Sierra Leone faces no bigger challenge today than Ebola and called for international assistance immediately to avoid a catastrophe.
Dr. Victor Fakondo, also of the Concerned Citizens, expressed concern that the immigration initiative for citizens of Ebola -affected countries tilted more towards Liberia. He is pioneering efforts to ensure that Sierra Leoneans get equal access to the immigration relief being offered to West Africans whose countries were affected by the Ebola outbreak.
Mr. Amadu Massalley of the Sierra Leone Government’s Open Government Initiative ( OGI ) , who equally expressed concern with the U.S. tendency to concentrate their help to West Africa on Liberia , gave an eloquent and educative lesson on historical ties that are supposed to bind Sierra Leone and the U.S and that should compel America to treat Sierra Leoneans as equally as they treat Liberians. America should be focussing on Sierra Leone too, not just Liberia, he strongly advised, while wishing that U.S. President Obama watched the video recording of the press conference to hear what he had said.
FROM RIGHT : BISHOP EMMANUEL KUYATEH, COUNCIL MAN VANSANELLA , MR. FODAY MANSARAY AND MINISTER KABS-KANU
The religious leaders at the program, Bishop Emmanuel Kuyateh and Mr. Hadi Gabisi called for unity among Sierra Leoneans and a united front to seek international attention to the Ebola pandemic.
Sierra Leone’s Minister Plenipotentiary to the United Nations , Rev. Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu strongly appealed for the international world not to stigmatize the Ebola-hit countries and abandon them at this time of need . He appealed for the planes and the ships to start going back to these countries to avoid wrecking their economies and tourist industries . He also advised Sierra Leoneans to stop posting negative stories on the social media about their country because they were creating unnecessary mistrust for the government , which had the potential of hindering international assistance to their country. He re-echoed Mr.Gabisi’s plea for patriotism and called on the world not to abandon the Ebola-affected countries.
Giving the vote of thanks, Mr. Foday Mansaray thanked the Franklin Municipal Township for helping to coordinate the press conference. He also extended thanks and appreciation to Sierra Leoneans, Liberians, Guineans and other nationals who turned up for the program. Mr. Mansaray noted that the movement for international attention and action will take the Concerned Citizens of New Jersey to the UN Headquarters in New York where they plan to stage a demonstration.
The program was moderated by Councilman, James Vansanella and Mr. Melbourne Garber, another community leader based in New York.
MEMBERS OF THE SIERRA LEONE COMMUNITY WHO STAGED THE PRESS CONFERENCE.
TO HEAR MORE ABOUT WHO ELSE SPOKE AND WHAT THEY SAID, WE BRING YOU THE FULL LENGTH VIDEO REPORT OF THE PRESS CONFERENCE , COURTESY OF MR. HAMJAT JOLLOMY BAH.