How to help Ebola relief efforts

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Boys carry food cans during a food distribution by the World Food Program in Dolo Town, Liberia, east of the capital Monrovia, on Sept. 2. Photo by Dominique Faget/AFP/Getty Images

Boys carry food cans during a food distribution by the World Food Program in Dolo Town, Liberia, east of the capital Monrovia, on Sept. 2. Photo by Dominique Faget/AFP/Getty Images

This year’s Ebola outbreak is the worst of its kind with more than 13,000 confirmed or suspected infections and nearly 5,000 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.

Short-term needs include everything from more cell phones to hospital beds. In the longer term, the virus has reversed development efforts in West African countries that were just recovering from conflict.

A massive international relief effort is underway. Individuals can learn more about what some organizations are doing and how to contribute by clicking on the links below:

The World Food Program, in addition to distributing food, coordinates the Ebola humanitarian effort, provides medical kits and other supplies, and transports workers and cargo to the affected countries.

Health workers from the Liberian Red Cross are distributing food and supplies to residents, removing victims of Ebola from homes, and preparing graves to keep the virus from spreading. You can earmark your donation for the Ebola relief effort on the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ webpage.

Doctors Without Borders operates six Ebola treatment centers in the most affected West African countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and has managed thousands of patients. In an effort to slow the spread of the disease within households, where families take care of the sick before they can get medical treatment, the organization has distributed hundreds of thousands of disinfectant kits.

AmeriCares is helping its partners in Liberia map containment strategies and is shipping medicines and emergency equipment, including personal protective gear, to health workers.

UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, is educating communities about Ebola through radio programs, leaflets and door-to-door information campaigns. UNICEF supplies Ebola treatment centers, equips health workers, provides mental health and social workers, and trains Ebola survivors to care for children at treatment centers.

Save the Children is helping build Ebola centers, taking care of orphans and teaching children about the disease.

Oxfam is supplying water, hygiene equipment and sanitation to treatment and community care centers.

USAID’s Center for International Disaster Information lists dozens of more nongovernmental organizations that are assisting in the Ebola effort.

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