BODY bags and Hazmat suits feature in a new World Vision catalogue in a radical move to shine Australia’s attention on Africa’s escalating Ebola crisis.
The confronting catalogue showcases the reality of the deadly virus – which has killed more than 2000 people in just a year – and aims to raise much-needed funds for the emergency response in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
While World Vision’s catalogues typically feature items like goats, chickens and bicycles, the special Ebola version launched today draws attention to the disposable hazmat suits, body bags, gloves, handwashing kits, rubber gloves and chlorine integral to fighting the disease.
World Vision Australia CEO Claire Rogers said the situation had reached crisis point after cases were identified in the DR Congo city of Goma, a major trade hub on the border of Rwanda, as well as the neighbouring country of Uganda.
“This is the second-worst Ebola outbreak ever and must be stopped,” she said.
“More than 70,000 Australian tourists travel to Africa each year – it takes one person hopping on a plane with a bit of a cough to infect a population. Ebola knows no borders.
“But we should not wait until Ebola reaches our shores. How many borders must it jump before we act?”
She said while confronting for Australians, body bags and hazmat suits were among the tools being used by humanitarian organisations to combat the disease.
World Vision workers in South Sudan, for example, are conducting health screening at check points along the border with DRC.
Ebola is highly infectious and transmitted through bodily fluids and human contact, and the items are crucial in helping contain the spread. Even burials must be conducted by people wearing protective gear.
“I make no apologies for telling it how it is – this represents some of the gritty work which World Vision and other humanitarian agencies do in some of the toughest places on earth,” she said.
“If you buy an item from the catalogue, your funds will go directly to fighting Ebola. We hope this will be a limited-edition catalogue.”
The terrifying illness has torn apart families and left more than 1300 children orphaned, and many more suffering distress, fear and anxiety.
“In addition to the emotional toll, children’s lives have been completely disrupted,” said Ms Rogers.
“Families have had to move to different towns and cities due to the stigma survivors face, creating an unstable home and school environment. Teachers have said that student’s marks are slipping as children struggle to concentrate – or drop out of school completely, particularly those who have been orphaned.”
One school lost up to 20 per cent of students as families moved out of the area due to the stigma of Ebola.
“The people of the DR Congo – and the world – need Australia to step up again to do our share to stop Ebola in its tracks,” Ms Rogers said.
“Australia has for years ignored the people in the DR Congo – who also suffer violence, political instability and mass displacement.
“We know that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has released $2.5 million towards the Ebola response, but it’s not enough. We must urgently match Canada’s contribution of AU$35 million to the DR Congo humanitarian response to stop this frightening outbreak.”
To sign a petition calling the Australian government to boost its contribution to the international Ebola crisis in the DR Congo or donate to World Vision’s humanitarian response at www.worldvisionaustralia.com.au/ebola.
Story Source:World Vision Australia