The Ebola crisis continues to worsen, with over 4,000 people having died from the virus in West Africa.
Trócaire is working in Sierra Leone and Liberia, two countries affected by the crisis. We are responding to the crisis through our partnership with local Caritas and missionary organisations.
In Liberia we are supporting a hospital operated by the Franciscans. This response includes funding hand-washing stations and training health workers responding to the crisis.
Our response in Sierra Leone has focused on grassroots community awareness raising programme. This has included producing written materials, training community leaders and door-to-door awareness campaigns to raise awareness of how Ebola can be transmitted, how risk of transmission can be reduced, and how to respond to suspected cases. This work has focused on the two districts of Sierra Leone (Kailahun and Kenema) where the outbreak originated.
We are also helping to provide food and non-food items to people in quarantined households. In addition, we are providing psycho-social trauma counselling to survivors or Ebola and those orphaned by the virus. Stigma is a huge problem for survivors and relatives of those deceased as they often face isolation as a result of fears that they may be contagious.
In addition to the health danger posed by the virus, this crisis will also cause problems for food availability in affected countries. Restrictions on movement have meant that many people have been unable to plant crops. Hunger is likely to rise over the coming months due to food shortages.
Trócaire is building a longer-term response to include food and agricultural support for communities affected by disruption to planting.
Top: In Sierra Leone, Caritas Freetown is teaching people how to prevent the spread of Ebola. Photo: Caritas Internationalis
Bottom: In Guinea, Caritas is distributing hygiene materials and teaching people about Ebola prevention. Photo: OCPH/Caritas Guinea