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A stormy start to lockdown in Liberia

Tearfund | 29 May 2020

Lockdown was hard for Sarah and her family. Then a deadly storm hit, damaging their house beyond repair. It made a difficult situation even worse.

Sarah* lives in Liberia, West Africa. Her husband passed away in 2003, so she brings up her seven children by herself as well working at the market as a trader to provide for them.

The lockdown meant the end of her business. Sarah was forced to dip into the small savings she had to pay for food so the family could eat. But this meant when the storm hit, there was no money to rebuild her house.

‘After this storm I am completely lost – I have lost everything, food, the money I had here at home and in my business,’ says Sarah. ‘I have come back to nothing as you see.’

Quick response
When the government in Liberia announced the coronavirus enforced lockdown, Tearfund immediately began to prepare a response to make sure that vulnerable people were not left behind. People like Sarah and her children.

While lockdowns are important to limit the spread of the virus, they can make life much more difficult for vulnerable members of the community – single parents, widows, people living with a disability, and those for whom home isn’t a safe place.

Our Tearfund team in Liberia has been going door to door to make sure these households are able to learn about ways they can keep safe and limit the spread. They are also listening to the community and responding to people’s needs. Vulnerable people are often marginalised from society, so it’s important to give them the space to learn and ask questions – especially about something that directly affects them.

‘I understand better the risks that are outside now,’ says Sarah, after she was visited by the Tearfund team.

Our team is also delivering food parcels in the community. For people like Sarah who can no longer work to pay for food for her family, it’s a lifeline. Sarah no longer has to risk the health of her loved ones by making dangerous trips out for food.

‘Your coming is a real relief for me and my family...I won’t use the little remaining money on food again but on rebuilding my house, since my children and I will have food to eat as the result of the project,’ says Sarah. ‘Thanks to you and those who sent you to us today.’


*Name changed to protect identity


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