West African communities from Perth met with Colin Barnett to protest Ebola aid restrictions

Eunice Meda, Sarah Surman, Andrea Surman and Susan Kpatar join the march
Eunice Meda, Sarah Surman, Andrea Surman and Susan Kpatar join the march

LOCAL West African communities marched last Friday to show solidarity with those battling the ebola crisis back home.

Members of the Perth Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia communities joined Christian City Church Fremantle for the march from Kings Park to Parliament House, where they delivered a letter to Premier Colin Barnett asking for more aid. 

The letter also asked permission for Australian citizens of West African descent to return to their countries to volunteer in the fight against ebola.

The Association of Liberian Community WA president Nath-aniel Nyanfore said many in the African community in WA had family members in ebola-affected countries.

‘We have people here who have lost five members of their family to this disease,’ he said.

‘Liberia, for example, is coming out of 14 years of civil unrest in which many thousands have died; how many more should ebola take before it is enough? It is a big issue for us.

‘We are hopeless and don’t know where to turn for help. Our people are dying daily, more than 5000 now and counting. There are medical personnel and some African nurses in WA who want to volunteer but travel bans are preventing us.’

Christian City Church Fremantle founder Andrea Surman said the West African communities were frustrated at the slowness in which Australia was responding to calls for help.

‘The march was a way to raise awareness of the issue here in Western Australia,’ she said. 

‘While the West African communities are grateful for the aid donated so far, they believe that more is needed because it is not only fighting the disease but the long term recovery of these economies.

‘Public awareness is critical otherwise the general population accept the Government’s rhetoric as truth.’