The Irish Red Cross today launched an emergency appeal in aid of the families and communities affected by the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa. Since the first cases of the Ebola virus were identified in spring this year, there have been more than 2,300 deaths and more than 5,000 confirmed cases.
Across the four effected countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria, Red Cross teams are targeting 39 million people with support. At the Red Cross treatment clinic in Sierra Leone, medical teams are working around the clock to help those infected. Specially trained Red Cross volunteers and staff are working with communities in each country, to prevent the virus spreading further. Through targeted communications and village meetings, the Red Cross is helping families recognise the symptoms and affects of Ebola, and teaching them how to stay safe.
To prevent the spread of the Ebola, the Red Cross has set about tracing the path of the virus. By tracing everyone who has come into physical contact with an infected person or body, the Red Cross is able to identify those at risk and monitor those who may become sick. Since March, the Red Cross has successfully traced more than 21,700 people.
Bodies of Ebola victims are particularly contagious, but tradition and superstition has meant that many communities are hesitant to hand over the bodies of their loved ones. Since the outbreak of the virus, the Red Cross has been working with families to ensure that infected bodies are disposed of properly. In Guinea alone, 97% of burials have been carried out by the Red Cross.
The Irish Red Cross Ebola appeal will help continue the treatment of Ebola victims and help prevent further spread. Anyone wishing to donate can do so online at www.redcross.ie/donate, by phone: 1850 50 70 70; or by cheque made out to ‘Irish Red Cross’ and marked ‘Ebola Appeal’ and sent to Irish Red Cross, 16 Merrion Square, Dublin 2.