OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — The worst Ebola virus outbreak in history is ravaging Liberia, where Alex Lewis was born. About 4,000 Liberians live in Oakland, and all of them are worried about the health of family and friends in their homeland.
Lewis, of the Liberian Association of Northern California, told KPIX 5, “I haven’t slept much because I have a cousin that I still communicate with through the phone and family members, and they’re looking to us as a savior. And it’s just like, you’re looking for me to save you and I’m feeling helpless.”READ MORE: Plan For Urban Village At San Jose's New BART Station Raises Concerns With Local Businesses
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For weeks, Lewis and other Bay Area Liberians have been watching images on television of doctors, disease and death in a place they once called home.
“People are literally locked down, kids are not going to school. Nothing has happened. It’s like a ghost town,” Lewis said.
Lewis said his family tells him bleach has become a precious commodity. “Clorox that costs 99 cents here in the dollar store they’re selling a tablespoon for $5 U.S., which is a lot of money there,” he said.READ MORE: Passenger Jet Narrowly Missed Truckee Homes When It Crashed
On social media sites, Lewis encourages his family to listen to the western doctors working in Ebola clinics.
“We’re telling them to be sanitary. The Americans and other foreigners that are there, utilize them,” he said.
Lewis is also working to raise $15,000 to ship medical supplies that Kaiser Permanente donated. But as the Liberian death toll climbs to more than 2,000, none of it feels like enough.MORE NEWS: Phyllis Gould, WWII Defense Worker Who Fought To Honor Rosie The Riveter Dies, At 99
“What can I do besides just praying?” he said.