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Five steps to stop Ebola – in pictures

©IFRC/VictorLacken

©IFRC/VictorLacken

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has claimed nearly 5,000 lives since March. The Red Cross has been tackling the outbreak since the outset.

These striking images from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, show Red Cross workers on the ground fighting the disease and the people they are trying to help.

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Fighting Ebola: “I’ve never experienced anything like this”

p-SLE0632Ebola has claimed nearly 5,000 lives across Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria. The outbreak is getting worse. John Punter, from Bristol, has been in Sierra Leone for two months. The 59-year-old describes his experience of fighting Ebola and how we can stop the spread of the deadly disease.

Before coming to Sierra Leone, my eldest son asked me: “Do you know what you’re getting yourself into?”

If truth be told, I didn’t – no one did. Worse still, it has taken the world even longer to wake up to the grim reality of this Ebola outbreak.

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Surviving Ebola: Red Cross discharges first two patients from Sierra Leone treatment centre

Ebola-survivors-blog.II

Osman and Kadiatu, pictured centre, holding their discharge papers

When the Red Cross opened a treatment centre recently in Sierra Leone, Osman Sesay was the second confirmed Ebola patient to arrive.

When he crossed the threshold of the Kenema centre, he was listless and lethargic, with the glazed-over look of someone infected with the deadly disease.

Over the course of the past two weeks, Osman watched 11 fellow patients being taken for burial in the newly-dug cemetery, while he continued to grow stronger. He interacted with staff more, he moved more, he began asking for more food.

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South Sudan crisis: what childhood is this?

South-Sudan-SB-blog-IIISouth Sudan is mired in conflict. The daily realities of life in the world’s newest nation are hard to comprehend. In this blog, Seema Biswas, a field surgeon with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), shares her experiences of working in South Sudan.

This time a fortnight ago, I was waiting anxiously for a helicopter that had been despatched to take me and my colleagues back to Juba from the field.

We were leaving three days late as the rainy season makes some airstrips impassable. We waited quietly, surrounded by children sporting football shirts from around the world, as the helicopter refuelled.

I wondered whether one day I would watch one of these children wearing his own shirt and playing for South Sudan on TV.

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Fact check: asylum seekers

© British Red Cross

© British Red Cross

Recent media stories have attacked the government for putting asylum seekers in hotels while they wait for a decision about their claim. The articles claim that too much money is being spent on temporary accommodation.

Several articles have implied the UK is being flooded with asylum seekers. In fact, the country hosts less than one per cent of the world’s refugees.

We want to set the record straight. More

Ebola: the data behind the disease

Ebola-nurse-blog-IIIThe Ebola outbreak has claimed more than 2,400 lives across West Africa since it began in March.

One particularly striking fact is that nearly half (47 per cent) of the 4,963 cases across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, have come in the three weeks before 13 September, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

It’s a clear sign that the outbreak is getting worse. Aid agencies, including the Red Cross, are stretched to the limit and desperately need more support.

In this blog, we take a look at the data behind the disease to see how Ebola has hit countries in West Africa.*

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Ebola outbreak: ‘If we don’t help, who will?’

Ebola-nurse-blogIf I am honest, I have stopped looking at the tallies of the dead. Numbers don’t show you what Ebola is really doing to these communities.

But I see the fear and misinformation it spreads. The orphans it leaves in its wake. The 120 health workers who have died while trying to help patients, in countries that already have some of the lowest doctor-patient ratios in the world.

When I first arrived in Sierra Leone six weeks ago, I travelled with the local Red Cross to the infection ‘hot zone’ near the Guinea and Liberia borders.

The volunteers were tired but motivated. Someone asked them: “Why volunteer to manage dead bodies?” A volunteer quickly answered: “If we don’t do it, who will?”

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