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West Africans fill churches to pray for deliverance from Ebola

Published on Aug 11, 2014 7:02 AM
People walk in front of a banner reading ''Guinea and ECOWAS hands in hands against Ebola fever ''All together against Ebola fever!'' '' prior to a youth football tournament near the Koumassi sports center in Abidjan on Aug 10, 2014.  -- PHOTO: AFP 

MONROVIA/FREETOWN (REUTERS) - People in Sierra Leone and Liberia filled churches on Sunday to seek deliverance from an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus, defying official warnings to avoid public gatherings to contain an epidemic that has killed nearly 1,000 people in West Africa.

With their creaking healthcare systems completely overrun, Sierra Leone and Liberia have both declared states of emergency to tackle the highly contagious and incurable disease, which has also stricken neighbouring Guinea.

People still flocked to sing and pray at churches in Liberia's ramshackle ocean-front capital Monrovia, many of them comparing Ebola to the brutal civil war that ravaged the country between 1989 and 2003, killing nearly a quarter of a million people.

One of the deadliest diseases known to man, Ebola kills up to 90 per cent of those infected.

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