West Point, Monrovia
West Point is a township (the administrative equivalent of a city ward) of the Liberian capital city of Monrovia, located on a peninsula which juts out into the Atlantic Ocean between the Mesurado and Saint Paul rivers. Home to approximately 75,000 people, West Point is one of Monrovia's most densely populated slums.
The settlement formed in the 1940s. An experiment in the 1970s to move people from West Point failed. Residents returned despite squalid living conditions. People moved back to fish and make a living as informal shopkeepers and service providers close to the city centre.
During the 2014 Ebola outbreak, the neighborhood was placed under quarantine, such that nobody could enter or leave, a practice known as Cordon sanitaire. This drew criticism from health experts and human rights advocates. The quarantine was halted after 10 days, and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf later acknowledged that this decision had been a mistake.
The area lacks proper sanitation and public toilets. and a report by United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates that there are four public toilets in the area. Pay toilets exist, but residents cannot afford them, and thus public defecation is common. The beach surrounding West Point is often used as a lavatory which creates health hazards as the water is used for drinking and fish from the water are consumed.
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- "Fearing the Tide in West Point, a Slum Already Swamped With Worry", New York Times, March 15, 2016
- "LIBERIA: Disease rife as more people squeeze into fewer toilets", IRIN News, 19 November 2009.
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- "Liberia's West Point Slum Reels From the Nightmare of Ebola". Time. Retrieved 2020-01-25.
- MacDougall, Clair (2015-05-12). "Liberia's Military Tries to Remedy Tension Over Ebola Quarantine". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-01-25.
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