As the DEC launch an Ebola crisis appeal, how is CAFOD responding to the Ebola outbreak?
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.
Of course, Ebola is having an effect on society in general, with schools closed and healthcare resources diverted, leaving clinics and hospitals unable to administer general healthcare and having to close. There are restrictions of cross border imports of produce and members of farming communities being affected by the disease, and food is becoming scarce in some places, leading to price increases beyond the reach of ordinary people.
An example of what your money can buy: Bar of soap: 56p Life-saving hygiene kit for a family of eight: £16 Food for a family for three months: £34
How are CAFOD partners able to move about safely?
CAFOD’s local partners are mainly based in the affected communities, and are known and trusted by community members. They still need to travel by road to reach communities that we are supporting, but they are familiar with the terrain. During the Ebola outbreak, quarantine restrictions have placed further constraints on communities wanting to get to market to buy or sell produce.
CAFOD partners delivering aid have permission to cross quarantine zones to support affected communities, and will be following strict guidelines on how best to deliver aid or prevention information that minimises exposure to risk of infection.
Please continue to pray for those affected by Ebola across West Africa