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 Tuesday 30 October 2007
 
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LIBERIA: Flomo Kerkula, Liberia, “All my fingers and toes have gone and my family abandoned me"


Photo: Ansu Konneh/IRIN
Flomo Kerkula has spent 20 of his 55 years in a leper colony in northern Liberia
GANTA, 23 October 2007 (IRIN) - Leprosy patient Flomo Kerkula, 55, has been living in one of Liberia’s biggest leper camps in Ganta, Nimba County, for over two decades.

One of his elder brothers first took him to the camp for treatment, but twenty years later, Kerkula told IRIN that his family has abandoned him, despite the completion of his treatment.
 
“I had a wife when I contracted leprosy and I have brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts, as well as other relatives like cousins.

When I contracted leprosy they brought me to the camp for treatment and since then none of them has even come to visit me.

I am left at the mercy of God and the caretakers of this camp who I now consider as my family.”

Every time I sent a message to some of my relatives in my village in Bong County [central Liberia] for them to visit me in the camp, no one replied. They do not care about me and no one even bothered to reply to say so.

“It reminds me of when I got the disease. People in my village said to me that I was involved in witchcraft activities and that was why I got leprosy.

The villagers were afraid to greet me and some of them even advised their children and relatives not to shake my hands or think of being closed to me.

I am unable to work now. All my figures and toes have gone. But the only thing that bothers me right now is that my family abandoned me like this.”

ak/nr


Theme(s): (IRIN) Governance, (IRIN) Health & Nutrition, (IRIN) Human Rights

[ENDS]

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
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This material comes to you via IRIN, the humanitarian news and analysis service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the United Nations or its Member States. Republication is subject to terms and conditions as set out in the IRIN copyright page.