2014-10-29 12:40:00

UK charities: Ebola has caused a humanitarian catastrophe in affected nations

(Vatican Radio)  The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), which is a group of 13 UK aid charities, has launched an urgent appeal for funds over the Ebola crisis, saying the epidemic has caused a humanitarian catastrophe in the affected countries.  It’s the first time ever that the DEC has sought funds over a disease outbreak in its 50-year history.  One of the 13 charities belonging to the DEC is the Catholic development agency, CAFOD, based in London.  Susy Hodges spoke to CAFOD’s Head of Humanitarian Operations, Jill Johnson, who told her why they have taken this unprecedented step.

Listen to the interview with Jill Johnson of CAFOD:

Never before has the DEC launched an appeal because of a disease outbreak and Johnson said this decision is a clear indication of the gravity of the current Ebola epidemic in West Africa and its severe impact on the population at large in the three worst affected countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

“The infection rates of Ebola are starting to explode and it’s a recognition of the uniqueness of this crisis and there’s a real priority and a real urgency to prevent the spread of this disease.”

Turning to some of the wider impacts of Ebola on daily life in the affected nations, Johnson said the health systems in these countries have been severely impacted with people “unable to gain access to health services” for treatment of more common and routine illnesses such as malaria and she acknowledged that the epidemic is also having an effect upon “every facet of daily life” in the three countries.  

Above all, Johnson stressed the need to take immediate action to help try to rein in the Ebola epidemic before the situation gets even worse in the coming months.       

“We’ve been given a time frame of 60 days to really get this crisis under control….. and it’s urgent that we act now.”

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