Sierra Leone: assisting the Ebola victims

The serious Ebola outbreak spread particularly in Guinea Conakry, Liberia and Sierra Leone, with immense losses among the local population, as was communicated by the press. AMU, the NGO related to the Focolare Movement, is intensely involved in fighting the virus in various ways. We have asked Stefano Comazzi, one of the leaders, to tell us about this.

«In reality the situation seems to be much more dramatic than what is generally relayed, since the epidemic breakout is still beyond control. This goes to impact greatly on the lives of millions of people, due to travel restrictions and reduced business with the consequent scarcity of food, and impediments in schooling and work… not to mention the mourning in families hit by the virus, and who often lack the means to support the weaker members.»

Outbreak figures «As of today–Stefano affirms – the figures are imprecise since many cases are not recorded, and also because the epidemic outbreak in the rural zones has reached the big cities, where the dense population and the miserable living conditions strongly enhance the diffusion of the virus.»

Dramatic situations. As is known, «the healthcare operators are among the first to pay in person since in trying to limit the infection, they were in turn infected, often with deadly outcomes, thus weakening the health organisations that already had limited resources, and today are no long able to face this calamity. Furthermore, the lack of means and suitable medical equipment and material had forced many health centres to close since instead of being barriers to the spreading, ironically they became a means of spreading the outbreak»

Sierra Leone. A similar situation occurred also in the Catholic “Holy Spirit” diocesan hospital of Makeni in Sierra Leone, the locality where Fr. Carlo Di Sopra, a Xaverian priest and pioneer of the spirituality of unity in Africa is stationed and where there is a dynamic Focolare community.

Fr. Carlo, with the other religious of his congregation and the entire diocese of Makeni, is all committed to starting up again the activities of the hospital. «At the moment – he said – our structure manages to offer only limited first-aid services. We are, however, doing our best to carry out the urgent renovation works that will make the structure suitable to new challenges, especially regarding the purchase and installation in the new facilities, of a specialised medical laboratory for infectious diseases. With the hope that this Ebola emergency comes to an end, this laboratory will, however, continue to serve the local population in the prevention and care of other locally diffused infectious diseases (AIDS, hepatitis C, malaria, etc.)».

Project. This action is part of a more extensive project coordinated by Caritas and with the support of other associations in an integrated project of active assistance, not only in Sierra Leone but also in Guinea Conakry and Liberia.

The youth in the front line. «There are other immediate and concrete activities which the Focolare Movement supports, for the sick and their families – Stefano Comazzi concluded – in particular for those in quarantine and who will receive support with the contributions collected for this emergency.»

Those who wish to give their contribution may do so through the following account at Banca Popolare Etica – Rome Branch:

code IBAN: IT16 G050 1803 2000 0000 0120 434

code SWIFT/BIC: CCRTIT2184D

registered in the name of Associazione Azione per un Mondo Unito Onlus

Reason: Emergency Ebola

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