2014 West Africa Ebola Outbreak

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When the deadly Ebola outbreak erupted in West Africa this spring, Direct Relief responded – as aggressively and expansively as possible — and continues to do so.

Direct Relief’s ongoing response comprises a series of emergency airlifts of medical resources, including the decisive step of a 747 charter to deliver 100 tons of essential supplies in September — a time of critical need when supply lines into affected countries had effectively collapsed.

As of December, 2014, Direct Relief has sent 29 emergency shipments carrying 172 tons of medical aid with a value of $16.8 million to more than 1,000 hospitals and clinics in coordination with the following agencies:



The Ministry of Health

Sierra Leone



A Direct Relief-chartered Boeing 747 departs John F. Kennedy International with 100 tons of emergency medical assistance for communities gripped by Ebola.

Direct Relief is mobilizing additional shipments of essential supplies to ensure medical responders on the frontlines of the outbreak have the personal protective gear, medicines, and supplies they need to contain the virus.

This includes two 10-bed medical tents for triage and Ebola treatment in Sierra Leone. Each tent is 500 square feet and will come equipped with a lighting system, air conditioning unit, privacy screens, air filtration systems, and portable beds. The sanitation system will be set up by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation of Sierra Leone and Medical Research Centre, and will share supporting services with the 100-bed ETU in the MRC-run Hastings Treatment Center, where both tents will be co-located. These facilities will provide care for healthcare workers and community members infected with Ebola.

The Direct Relief shipment is absolutely critical, as we are almost out of our existing stock of gloves and gowns.”

Raphael Frankfurter, Executive Director, Wellbody Alliance

Direct Relief is also working to price, order, and purchase PPE suits and supplies to equip healthcare facility kits . These healthcare facility kits will be sent in January to help 100 facilities reopen with needed basic equipment, cleaning supplies, hygiene and sanitation supplies, protective gear, and other items.

These efforts are made possible through the support of thousands of individuals, nearly 50 companies and foundations that include the following:

The Paul Allen Family Foundation
Skoll Global
Threats Fund
Humanity United
Greenbaum Foundation
Abbvie Foundation
Abbott Fund
Eli Lilly
Sappo Hill
Virgin Unite

To keep up to date on the response, read Direct Relief’s blog, and to learn about Direct Relief’s commitment to financial accountability and transparency, read Direct Relief’s Ebola donation policy.


What is Ebola?

Ebola is an infectious and often fatal disease that results in fever and severe internal bleeding. Ebola is highly contagious through infected bodily fluids such as sweat, blood, and saliva, and remains infectious even after death.

What is the rate of survival?

The survival rate of the current outbreak is around 50%. Survival rates have varied from 10% to 75% in past outbreaks. More than 1,1554  people have survived Ebola during this outbreak, as of December, 2014, according to the WHO. The youngest survivor is reported to be two months. 

What can be done to improve survival rates?

There are no medications effective in curing the virus, but supportive hospital care can significantly increase survival.

What is needed and how can I help?

In additional to other critical supplies, here’s a list of some of the most requested items and their approximate value:

$4 Bag of basic IV saline
$6 Pack of 50 exam gloves
$10 Isolation gown
$20 Box of sterile syringes & needles
$25 Pair of rubber boots
$60 Case of face masks
$1 Protective shoe covers

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