An Aussie Doctor In Liberia Says Airlines Suspending Flights Are Hurting The Fight Against Ebola

A girl sells soap as women pray for an end of the 2014 Ebola in Liberia. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

An Australian doctor in Liberia has lashed out against Air France and British Airways for suspending their services to West Africa, saying they have left health workers in the region without vital supplies.

The major airlines pulled out of their support to deliver emergency supplies to Liberia and Sierra Leone following the recommendations of their governments.

Ian Norton told ABC Darwin the airlines had abandoned the humanitarian effort, amid the worst Ebola outbreak the world has ever seen.

Norton says 28 local health workers in Liberia had died from the disease, in a city that only produces 10 doctors a year.

“We’re having to launch a humanitarian mission to bring in [a] UN Hercules to deliver this stuff,” he said, reminding people you need direct contact with the sick to contract the disease. “It’s amazing how people deal with Ebola and fear it without any sense.”

Norton said health workers in Liberia were already behind the curve.

“We’re tyring to convince the authorities that the best thing for that is to allow the patients into the treatment unit, but we have to build them first,” he said. “The death toll is no doubt rising and we’re working as fast as we can to get up more hospital beds. We need 1,000 (beds) in the city alone at the moment.”

Ebola has now killed 1,427 people this year, while some 2,615 people have been infected with the disease.

While the numbers are already devastatingly high WHO believes the death count is likely exceed this number but because of community resistance they can’t adequately assess the actual toll.

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