Ebola crisis ‘still getting worse’

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Published: Sunday 2nd November 2014 by The News Editor

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The Ebola crisis in west Africa is still getting worse, the head of a leading charity has said.

An atmosphere of “fear and anxiety” pervades the region, Save the Children chief executive Justin Forsyth said on a trip to Freetown in Sierra Leone.

He said: “I think it’s still getting worse. It’s going to get even worse before we get on top of it. We are still behind the curve.

“We are in this race against time. There is enormous fear and anxiety.”

Mr Forsyth said he did not leave the country feeling “despair” and reported that there are signs that aid is making a difference, and there is “more action on the ground”.

He praised the “inspirational” efforts of staff risking their lives to help bring the crisis under control.

He said: “Save the Children staff who have lost relatives and loved ones have come into work and carried on the fight against Ebola.

“The whole country is mobilising. The international staff who are coming – families back home are very worried. It is an amazingly brave and courageous thing to do. People are putting their lives on the line.”

He visited a new treatment centre in Kerry Town, which has been funded by the British Government, built by the Army and is run by Save the Children.

It is expected to open next week.

Mr Forsyth said: “It is an important part of the efforts to have a number of these centres.”

On Saturday the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) said it has been “overwhelmed” by the “extraordinary generosity” of the British public after £4 million was donated in just two days to a campaign to help people affected by the Ebola crisis in west Africa.

The UK Government has pledged to match the first £5 million given by the public and its £4 million contribution brings the fund total to £8 million since the campaign was launched on Thursday.

DEC chief executive Saleh Saeed said: “We are extremely grateful to the UK Government for the aid match funding which is a significant boost to the appeal.

“The UK Government will match a further £1 million raised, so we encourage the UK public to donate as soon as possible to double the amount of their donation.

“Our member agencies have already achieved so much – providing protective clothing, educating communities and supporting safe and dignified burials – but there is so much more to do.”

A DEC spokesman said its member agencies are scaling up their aid efforts in west Africa, where they have already helped more than 2.5 million people affected by the Ebola crisis, including working in some of the worst-affected and most remote areas of Sierra Leone and Liberia.

So far, almost 5,000 people have been killed by the virus and more than 13,000 have been infected, although experts say the real figures could be much higher.

He said the charity said it had been “overwhelmed” by the “extraordinary generosity” of the British public.

To make a donation to the DEC Ebola Crisis Appeal visit www.dec.org.uk, call the 24 hour hotline on 0370 60 60 900, donate over the counter at any high street bank or post office, or send a cheque. You can also donate £5 by texting the word SUPPORT to 70000.

DEC brings together 13 leading UK aid charities: ActionAid UK, Age International, British Red Cross, Cafod, Care International, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Islamic Relief, Merlin, Oxfam, Plan UK, Save the Children, Tearfund and World Vision.

Published: Sunday 2nd November 2014 by The News Editor

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