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West African Immigrants Face Ebola Stigma: New York Charity

© AP Photo / Matt RourkeAn Ebola bumper sticker sits next to Sierra Leone immigrant Mamud Jalloh's hand Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014, in Philadelphia
An Ebola bumper sticker sits next to Sierra Leone immigrant Mamud Jalloh's hand Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014, in Philadelphia - Sputnik International
Director of the Imani House New-York-based Liberian charity says that West African immigrants to the United States face daily discrimination over the current Ebola epidemic.

NEW YORK, November 20 (Sputnik) – West African immigrants to the United States face daily discrimination over the current Ebola epidemic, director of the Imani House New-York-based Liberian charity, Bisi Ideraabdullah, has told reporters.

"We've heard stories of children being stigmatized and called names. It's very difficult in a society like the United States, New York, which is very multicultural, but not very accepting of change or difference," Ideraabdullah said Wednesday.

"Africans stand out and so even Nigerians are being discriminated against because once you open your mouth and you're from Africa no one know[s] what country you're from. Stigmatization requires a lot of public information for Americans because it's a society that is very used to discrimination in some ways or isolating different groups into their own personal segments," the Imani House head added.

Ideraabdullah said she and her husband have been discriminated against because they travel back and forth to Liberia, which is facing an economic catastrophe amid the Ebola virus epidemic.

"All of our schools are closed, which means all of the teachers are out of work. Civil servants are out of work. The devastation on the economy of a country that was already one of the poorest of the poor, with the average rate of income is a dollar a day, has to be worse," Ideraabdullah said.

"Nothing is going to open until Ebola has gone. Many of the expats left. They were giving away their cars and getting out of there. Shipping companies do not want to land in the capital Monrovia. Insurance companies do not want to insure. This is a long-term problem," the head of the New-York-based charity stressed.

The current Ebola epidemic started at the end of 2013 in southern Guinea and later spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Senegal. Since then, Senegal and Nigeria have been declared free of the virus by the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to the latest WHO data, Ebola has killed a total of 5,177 people, with the number of confirmed, probable and suspected Ebola cases standing at almost 14,500.

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