Watching Ebola outbreak, Minnesotans scramble their travel plans

Posted in the Minneapolis Forum

Eya Bola Jane

Green Bay, WI

#1 Aug 4, 2014
As alarm grows over the deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa, families in Minnesota’s large Liberian community are scrambling for plane tickets and visas to get relatives out of the stricken zone and at least two Twin Cities churches have canceled mission trips intended to deliver medical and other aid to Liberia.

“We decided to err on the side of caution,” said Wynfred Russell, executive director of African Career, Education & Resource Inc. in Brooklyn Park and co-leader of a planned January trip of missionaries and public health volunteers. Instead of finishing work on a school under construction in northern Liberia, the group now plans to send money and equipment for the school and to prevent the spread of Ebola into the region.

Russell, a Liberian native, also is trying to help his brother escape the virus and travel to Minnesota. But flights are booked up and fares are skyrocketing, he said.“I know a number of people trying to get their relatives out,” Russell said.“There is this wave of anxiety.”

More than 30,000 people of Liberian descent live in Minnesota, primarily in the northwestern suburbs including Brooklyn Park, which is home to one of the largest Liberian populations outside of Africa.

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