This afternoon I watched Twitter explode again as news broke of an infected person being cared for in Dallas. Some of the responses were misguided and unfortunate panic. Some were to mock and joke about the terrible disease. Both responses are hard for me to hear, not necessarily because my mom had Ebola, but because of what is still happening in Western Africa to people in communities that are facing this terrible disease. The reality of it and the horror is overwhelming. I write this not to shame anyone, but to ask us to speak carefully about the plight of our fellow human beings who are suffering and to not make comedy the terrible things of this world. I want to call us to prayer and action to fight Ebola and to care for suffering people. Let the facts below help bring some sober judgement and resolute action as to how to deal with Ebola in the US and the world.
UNICEF reported this about the plight of children in Western Africa yesterday:
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 in West Africa, according to preliminary UNICEF estimates, and many are being rejected by their surviving relatives for fear of infection.
“Thousands of children are living through the deaths of their mother, father or family members from Ebola,” said Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF Regional Director for West & Central Africa, who just returned from a two-week visit to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. “These children urgently need special attention and support; yet many of them feel unwanted and even abandoned. Orphans are usually taken in by a member of the extended family, but in some communities, the fear surrounding Ebola is becoming stronger than family ties.”
And this video from Liberia is haunting and horrific.