Appeals

Ebola: dignity in death

The Ebola outbreak has dramatically changed funerals in affected parts of West Africa.

Mourners have been replaced by Red Cross burial teams, sealed in sweltering protective suits.

Rituals such as washing the bodies of loved ones before the burial have been abandoned. They are simply too dangerous, as the disease is transmitted through contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person. This risk remains even after the person has died.

Since the outbreak began in March, Red Cross teams working across Ebola-hit areas have given more than 5,400 people safe, dignified burials. It’s not an easy task, as these photos of teams in action in Liberia show.
A crowd watches as a body on a stretcher is carried from a house
More

Iraq: Life inside a refugee camp

A boy walking with a crate and large plastic bag

© Raefah Makki/IFRC

Fighting in Iraq has forced more than a million people to flee their homes. The Khanke refugee camp, near the city of Dohuk, is home to more than 1,000 families.

Explore our gallery and discover life in the camp – where the International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement is helping vulnerable people get vital food and clean water.

More

Ebola outbreak: “I’m good, don’t worry about me”

©IFRC/VictorLacken

©IFRC/VictorLacken

Sylla Fatoumata’s mobile phone vibrates every few minutes, making the table between us wobble.

Occasionally she glances at the screen and smiles. “My boys,” she tells me, shaking her head and laughing. “They contact me every day to see how I am.”

But Sylla is not a mother. The 28-year-old is the youngest of three sisters and, when the Ebola virus disease crept into Guinea’s capital Conakry, in March, she became the Red Cross focal point for safe and dignified burials in the city.

More

Red Cross Ebola nurse: ‘I’m no hero, I’m just doing my job’

©IFRC/VictorLacken

©IFRC/VictorLacken

Tackling Ebola on the front line is an emotional experience, but I’m glad I’m here, writes British Red Cross nurse Marjorie Lee.

Am I a hero? Not for one minute. I’m just somebody helping somebody else. And people here in Sierra Leone, as in Guinea and Liberia, need our help.

I arrived two weeks ago. The first thing that strikes you is how incredibly friendly people are. Everyone you pass says “hello” or “how are you?”

The manager of our hotel in Freetown kept thanking me for coming. He hasn’t left the hotel compound in weeks, he’s too afraid to go out. He sends people out on errands to get him things.

More

Ebola outbreak: reporting from Sierra Leone

©IFRC/VictorLacken

©IFRC/VictorLacken

Ebola leaves a lasting impression on everyone who encounters it. Here John Templeton, a freelance cameraman with Channel 4 News, recounts his recent experience of filming a series of reports featuring Red Cross teams in Sierra Leone (scroll down to watch the reports).   

Working as a freelance television cameraman means a phone call from a client can quickly lead to getting off a plane somewhere most people would do their utmost to avoid.

Wars, natural disasters and civil disturbances have their own rules of behaviour you must follow if you’re going to do your job well and leave unscathed. It’s usually expensive and difficult to cover such stories, so you had better do justice to the story.

More

Finding and monitoring Ebola infections – video

In this video, a Liberian Red Cross volunteer talks about her work in monitoring relatives and neighbours of Ebola victims.

On average, one person infected with Ebola infects two other people. The disease is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids of an infected person, or indirectly through contact with contaminated areas, such as soiled clothing or bed linen.

It’s vital to trace the movements of those infected with Ebola to find people who may have contracted the disease from them.

The next step is to monitor people who might have Ebola over a period of 21 days – the disease’s incubation period – to see if anyone develops symptoms.

Across Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, the Red Cross has traced more than 50,000 people at risk of contracting the disease.

More

Ebola outbreak: victims are more than just a statistic

©IFRC/VictorLacken

©IFRC/VictorLacken

Francesca Ginnett has just returned from Sierra Leone where she was tasked with making sure essential supplies reached health workers and volunteers fighting Ebola. This is her take on the last month.

So, how was it?

This is the question I keep getting asked. A simple ‘interesting’ or ‘tough’ won’t suffice, but I don’t know how to summarise the last month in a few words.

More