Mercy Ships Arrives In War-Torn Liberia

Monday, March 14, 2005
The Mercy Ship Anastasis has arrived in Monrovia, Liberia for her first ever visit to the war torn West African nation. At the urging of United Nations officials, the Liberian Government and the National Council of Churches, Mercy Ships will provide a full slate of specialized medical services as well as community development assistance over the next four months. Mercy Ships will offer desperately needed operations and medical procedures unavailable in Liberia such as tumor removals and cleft lip/palate repair.

According to US AID, the Liberian civil war (1989-1996, 1999-2003) claimed the lives of more than 150,000 Liberians and further displaced approximately 850,000 others into refugee camps. Mercy Ships Co-founder and President, Don Stephens, says, “Liberia's one of the neediest nations on the face of the earth. 90% of the people living inside of Liberia subsist on less than $1 per day.”

The fighting left Liberia’s economy in tatters and very little medical infrastructure remains. Mercy Ships Director of HealthCare Services, Dr. Glenn Strauss, notes “Access to medical care in Liberia is minimal. The population of three million has very little access to just basic medical care, let alone advanced surgical procedure to repair facial tumors, to repair blindness, to correct children's cleft lip and palates, and women's [vesico-vaginal fistula] surgical repairs. These are specialties Mercy Ships has to offer to the patients of Liberia.”

Mercy Ships is especially pleased to serve Liberia’s refugee population. Don Stephens explains, “Mercy Ships Rebuilding Hope Project is a collaborative arrangement with 12 communities of internally displaced refugees in Liberia. We will be primarily providing water and sanitation, skills and capacity building through education, as well as farm implements, as it's primarily an agrarian community. Together and collectively, we hope to make a lasting difference.”

Mercy Ships is the leader in using a growing fleet of hospital ships to deliver free world-class healthcare services to the poor. Founded in 1978 by Don and Deyon Stephens, Mercy Ships brings hope and healing to the poor in developing nations. The vision of Mercy Ships is to be the face of love in action and has a goal to serve one million people per year. Each year more than 2400 career and short-term volunteers serve with Mercy Ships. All services are provided without charge.

Mercy Ships has three hospital ships and offices in 17 countries and has visited more than 500 ports in over 50 developing nations. Mercy Ships has performed more than 2 million services, with a value of $250 million US. These services include treating more than 300,000 people in village clinics, performing 18,000 surgeries, 110,000 dental treatments and completing close to 350 construction and agriculture projects, including schools, clinics, orphanages and water wells.

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