16 October 2014

Friends of UNICEF Nichkhun and Paula urge public to help fight Ebola

Nickhun Horvejkul, Friend of UNICEF, is urging the public to help fight the Ebola outbreak. Make a donation today at http://www.unicef.or.th

BANGKOK, 14 October 2014 – The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today appealed to the Thai public for urgent donations to help fight the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa.

UNICEF Thailand Representative Bijaya Rajbhandari said the virus, which to date has claimed more than 4,000 lives in four West African countries and one fatality in the United States, “could threaten the lives of millions of others unless urgent action is taken to bring it under control.”

While more than 8,300 Ebola cases have been reported in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Senegal, there have been recent cases in both Spain and the United States. The outbreak, which has an average fatality rate of 50 per cent, is spreading rapidly and also causing severe disruption of basic healthcare services.

UNICEF estimated that at least 3,700 children in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have lost one or both parents to Ebola since the start of the outbreak. Many of these children are being shunned and rejected by surviving relatives due to fears of being infected by the virus.

UNICEF estimates that some 8.5 million children and young people under the age of 20 live in affected areas in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Of these, 2.5 million are under the age of five.

UNICEF has issued an appeal for US$ 200 million to respond to the outbreak, which is part of a broader, six-month appeal for $987.8 million that governments and humanitarian agencies require to fight the spread of the epidemic.

Since early August, UNICEF has airlifted more than 1,300 metric tonnes of protective equipment, hygiene items, household protection kits and essential medicines to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. UNICEF is also working with local authorities in the most affected areas to help strengthen family and community support to children affected by Ebola and to provide care to those who have been rejected by their communities or whose families have died.

In Sierra Leone, some 2,500 Ebola survivors will be trained to provide care and support to quarantined children in treatment centres, while some 60,000 vulnerable children and families in Guinea will be receiving psychological support. To prevent the spread of the virus, UNICEF and its partners are also using text messaging, radio shows, TV programmes, door-to-door campaigns and training for community workers to disseminate vital lifesaving information on how the virus is transmitted, on the safe handling and burial of the dead, and how to safely take care of family members who become ill.

“UNICEF is stepping up all of it activities in order to save lives,” Rajbhandari said. “When it comes to Ebola, we are truly in a race against time. We urgently need support from everyone, every organization and every country to tackle this unprecedented crisis.”

To make a donation, please donate online at www.unicef.or.th

or transfer money to UNICEF account at Bangkok Bank (Account No. 201-3-01324-4)

Kasikorn Bank (Account No. 008-1-09766-6)

Siam Commercial Bank (Account No. 003-3-10443-3)

For further donation information, please call 0-2356-9299

Please fax pay-in slip to 02 356 9229 and state "for Ebola outbreak"

For more information, please contact

Nattha Keenapan, UNICEF Thailand, 02 356 9478 or nkeenapan@unicef.org

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