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Liberia mission ransacked as hospital makes desperate appeal for aid

The mission of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Mary in Monrovia was attacked three times on one evening last week.

A group of armed men broke in and ransacked a number of buildings in the complex managed by the religious congregation.

The three sisters who run the mission, two US citizens and one Mexican, were unharmed, but are now living in the hospital where they work.

The Franciscan Congregation is one of the main missionary institutes in Liberia, specialising in health, especially the training of health workers.

Elsewhere in Monrovia, St Joseph's hospital has no water, water, electricity, food or medicines. St John of God Fr JosŤ Antonio Soria told the MISNA news agency: "We have no choice but to discharge patients with less serious complaints to cope with the emergency."

Fr Soria said the hospital has become a centre for thousands of people fleeing the fighting. He said: "There are no medicines: no drips, no antibiotics, no penicillin, no blood transfusion bags and no surgical instruments."

The heavy attack on Monrovia by the rebels of LURD (Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy) in recent days is making moving in the city extremely difficult, he said. "It is possible to get around only by ambulance."

Of the 80 registered doctors in Liberia, only 26 are currently working at full capacity and they are operating in "extreme" conditions. "The catchment area is vast," Fr Soria said.

Independent Catholic News

Pope urges ending fight in Liberia (Irib News)
3 dead, 55 hurt as shell hits church filled with refugees (Sydney Morning Herald)
US troops sent toward Liberia (Chicago Sun-Times)
Liberia: Bishops call for peace (Caritas Internationalis)
Catholic Relief Services - Liberia

28 Jul 2003