World Vision launches Ebola Appeal, scales up response

World Vision Australia is calling on Australians to join in the urgent fight to stop the spread of the deadly Ebola virus, with the launch of a special Ebola Outbreak Appeal. 

World Vision Australia chief executive Tim Costello said it was the first time the organisation had launched an emergency appeal aimed at combating a specific disease.

“With the number of new cases doubling every 20 days, the disease has rightly captured our attention in a way never seen before,” Mr Costello said. “The world only has a few weeks to contain the epidemic.”

“The brave men and women working on the frontline of this response are not only putting their own health at risk but they are also witnessing appalling scenes of human misery.

“Bodies are being left lying in the streets of Freetown because people are too fearful to go near them or bury them.”

More than 3700 children have already been orphaned by the epidemic.

“The disease is destroying whole families, whole communities; it’s a level of suffering that we cannot turn our backs on,” Mr Costello said.

World Vision is scaling up its response to the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone, with a major campaign to raise awareness in affected communities about how they can identify the symptoms of Ebola and prevent the spread of the deadly virus through hygiene practices and prompt referrals for treatment. WV is also providing food and other practical and psychological support to children who have lost their parents to the virus.

“We hope by launching the Ebola Outbreak Appeal, Australians will take the opportunity to partner with us in this urgent fight which we can win,” Mr Costello said.

Nigeria has just been declared Ebola-free which shows that a swift and decisive response can stop this disease in its tracks, Mr Costello said.

World Vision has already sent a planeload of five million items of protective clothing and equipment and trained 750 health workers in prevention and control measures.

World Vision Australia is also advocating the Australian Government and the international community to respond to the crisis in a number of ways. These include acting fast to commit and disburse funds, ensuring health care workers are trained and equipped, supporting community mobilization efforts and urgently supporting preparedness and contingency planning in neighbouring countries.

To donate to World Vision’s Ebola Outbreak Appeal call 13 32 40 or go to worldvision.com.au.

Tim Costello is available for interviews. Media contact: Mary-Louise O’Callaghan – 0427 413 816

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