By Morrison O.G. Sayon
An oil company operating in the country has contributed US$150,000 grant to the Liberia National Red Cross Society to enable the society intensify the fight against the deadly Ebola virus.
Yesterday, ExxonMobil provided the Liberian chapter of the International Red Cross the US$150,000 grant to fund Ebola public health efforts in Liberia. Ebola has so far engulfed thirteen of Liberia’s fifteen counties with Montserrado and Bomi counties recording the highest.
The Liberian National Red Cross Society is working with the Liberian Ministry of Health to fight the Ebola outbreak with programs that raise local awareness about how to prevent spreading the virus, provide contact tracing, support psycho-social counseling and distribute survival kits to Ebola victims’ families.
“ExxonMobil is relatively new to Liberia, but we know how important public health is to every community,” said Nathaniel Jallah, ExxonMobil’s Public Affairs and Government Manager in Liberia. “We support the Red Cross, other international aid organizations and the government in their efforts to eradicate Ebola in Liberia,” he added.
Mr. Jallah disclosed that ExxonMobil also provided a $75,000 grant in April to Plan International to support local public health efforts soon after the Ebola virus was detected in Liberia.
Receiving the US$150,000 check, the Secretary General of the Liberia National Red Cross, Fayiah Tamba lauded ExxonMobil for the grant describing it as a giant step in fighting the Ebola epidemic. Mr. Tamba said the Liberia National Red Cross is engaged in five most cardinal areas in the fight against the virus.
He named the areas as social mobilization, creating awareness in the various counties where 875 volunteers have been deployed to carry on awareness campaign on Ebola. He also said the LNRC is providing support on contact tracing, helping to ensure that those suspected of having the Ebola virus are followed for twenty-one days, among others.
Mr. Tamba added that Red Cross is also providing psycho-social support and food distribution to various communities. He said with support from the World Food Program, they provided food items to 30,000 inhabitants to residents of West Point and Dolo’s Town that were recently quarantined by Government.
Also speaking, the National Task Force Coordinator, Dobor Jallah reminded organizations and groups receiving funding on the fight against Ebola that they will give account to government on how money and items received are expended.
Mr. Jallah said organizations receiving funding are under obligation to utilize the funds as they will be made to account for what is being received to government through the National Task Force and the General Auditing Commission (GAC).
ExxonMobil holds 83 percent interest in Liberia Block 13 (LB-13), comprising more than 625,000 acres (2,500 square kilometers) offshore Liberia in water depths ranging from 250 to 10,000 feet (75 to 3,000 meters). ExxonMobil is the operator of LB-13.