Ebola outbreak in West Africa
An outbreak of Ebola has led to a humanitarian emergency in West Africa. The international Caritas network is responding to the outbreak by working to reduce transmission of the virus, and helping families affected by the outbreak.
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa began in Guinea in March 2014. Caused by the Ebola virus, the outbreak has already taken the lives of over 4,500 people to date. Current estimates indicate that there will be 10,000 new cases per week by mid-December.
“Many hospitals and clinics are closed in Liberia, so it is very difficult to get medical treatment for other diseases. Some people die in the streets looking for medical treatment for infection or for a whole host of other diseases,” said Monsignor Vitillo, Caritas Internationalis’ Special Advisor on HIV and AIDS and Health.
How Caritas is helping
Caritas Australia is working with our Caritas partners to provide urgently needed assistance to over 230,000 at risk of Ebola on the ground in Sierra Leone.
Initially we responded to the Ebola outbreak by:
- Providing medical supplies
- Raising awareness of how to prevent Ebola transmission
- Distributing hygiene kits and training community advocates
- Providing psychosocial support to families, households and communities affected by Ebola
The outbreak has devastated fragile healthcare systems and damaged the economies of the nations affected, some still recovering from war and conflict. The effect of this crisis will have a long last impact on the region and the Caritas network will continue to support these communities once the situation has stabilised.
As of February 2015, our response has moved into a rehabilitation and recovery phase. With our partner, we are helping orphaned and vulnerable children reintegrate into communities, and providing support for sustainable livelihoods. There is a strong focus on helping communities overcome the shock caused by the disease and rebuild sustainably.
Caritas Australia, along with three other Australian humanitarian agencies, has also received funding from the Australia Government’s Humanitarian Partnership Agreement to respond to the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone.
The wider international Caritas network is also working in other West Africa countries affected by Ebola, including Guinea and Liberia through existing partnerships.
How you can help
Your donation to the Africa Emergency Appeal will help Caritas Australia continue to provide humanitarian assistance to people affected by emergencies in Africa, including the Ebola outbreak. Donations $2 and over are tax deductible.
Please note: Caritas Australia ensures that least 92 percent of money raised through an emergency appeal goes directly to the emergency program response.