The idea of a deadly and contagious virus with no cure is terrifying. So imagine the courage it would take to nurse a neighbour who is sick from the Ebola virus, or bury your highly infectious wife, husband, child, sister or brother.
That is exactly what 1,800 Red Cross volunteers are doing right now in West Africa. They are going door-to-door to help their communities survive an Ebola outbreak that has claimed over 1,400 lives and infected more than 2,600 people in four countries. The number of deaths is growing by the day and each death is entirely preventable.
Red Cross is educating millions of people to prevent further infections. Volunteers are helping their neighbours to bury their loved ones safely. Emergency hospitals are being set up in towns where clinics are overflowing with people sick from Ebola.
This is fast becoming more than a major health emergency. Due to the health crisis, many communities are having difficulty accessing essential services, such as food and water.
We can all lend a hand to control this terrible virus. I ask all Australians to please consider donating to the Ebola Outbreak 2014 Appeal at redcross.org.au.
Peter Walton, head of International Program, Australian Red Cross