Liberia spent 15 years recovering from a brutal war. Then came ebola

Life in Liberia before the epidemic— and today

Research by Wudan Yan
Photography by Francois Beaurain

200

trained doctors in the whole of Liberia prior to the epidemic. Most left when the outbreak started

March 27, 2014

85%

of Liberians are officially unemployed

May 9, 2014

90%

of Liberians earn less than the national average of $410 per year. A loaf of bread costs around $1.50

January 22, 2014

49%

spend most of their income on food

February 17, 2014

25%

of Liberians do not have access to clean water

April 26, 2014

11

years since the end of the civil war that ripped apart the country and destroyed most of its services

April 8, 2014

4th

poorest country in the world

January 23, 2014

1

dollar a day. That’s how much 83 percent of Liberia’s four million citizens make

April 5, 2014

Zero

On March 21, 2014, a 35-year-old woman from the northern town of Foya — on the border with Guinea and Sierra Leone — became the outbreak’s first victim in Liberia. She is the country’s patient zero.

9

hours of curfew were introduced across Liberia each night on August 20 to prevent the disease spreading

August 20, 2014

$12m

spent by Liberia to manage the outbreak between April and June—more than the country’s entire health budget

August 15, 2014

17

ebola patients escaped a quarantine facility in Monrovia on August 18, causing widespread protests and rioting

August 20, 2014

58%

fatality rate in Liberian ebola

August 17, 2014

78

health workers have died so far in Liberia, out of 2,184 confirmed cases — more than anywhere else

August 14, 2014

150%

increase in the price of cassava, a staple food for Liberians, since the outbreak started

August 21, 2014

5,000

body bags ordered by USAID and sent to Liberia

September 10, 2014

10,000

deaths estimated before the epidemic is over

September 4, 2014

15,000%

Acceleration of human-to-human transmission of ebola—more likely occurred in the last four months than in the previous 500 years


Photo credits, from top: Animations by Francois Beaurain (8); John Moore/Getty Images (6); Abbas Dulleh/AP (2)