CAFOD Church and non-Church partners are urgently scaling up their response to the Ebola crisis, and need to reach many more people over the coming weeks. Their work includes:

● Raising awareness: Many communities do not have access to accurate information on Ebola, or hygiene facilities to protect themselves. Our partners are working with priests and imams to spread the word about hand-washing and safe sanitation, and to distribute hygiene kits. Religious leaders are in a unique position to bust myths and ensure that communities take the right action to prevent the spread of the disease.

● Providing safe burials: Ebola can spread through contact with the bodies of people who have died from the disease. CAFOD church partners and faith leaders in affected communities are best placed to work with in making sure that communities understand the stringent procedures that need to be adhered to pre and post funerals. We will be supporting partners to promote and provide safe burials in Northern Sierra Leone.

● Supplying food: As the spread of Ebola widens, the day to day task of buying or stocking food is becoming more challenging. Farmers have been unable to work together to harvest their crops, prices have risen, and food is becoming scarce in districts that have been quarantined. We are supporting Church partners in Liberia to provide vulnerable families with food, and plan to scale up this work into Sierra Leone.

The outbreak is affecting the rest of the health system, as resources are diverted to treat patients, leaving clinics and hospitals unable to administer general healthcare, and having to close. Our partners tell us that because of restrictions of cross border imports of produce, and members of farming communities being affected by the disease, food is becoming scarce in some places, which has led to prices increasing beyond the reach of ordinary people. The deadliest outbreak of the Ebola virus in recorded history has spread across Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. There is uncertainty about how many people have Ebola, the ones that World Health Organisation (WHO) numbers stand at more than 10,000 people infected, this is made up of confirmed, suspected and probable cases. WHO confirm that 4,992 people across Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea have died from the Ebola virus. WHO now estimate that if rapid action is not taken to halt the spread of the virus in the coming weeks, there could be up to 10,000 infections per week.

To donate to CAFOD’s Ebola crisis appeal go to: