100 Tons of Ebola Fighting Supplies Sent to West Africa

A Direct Relief-chartered Boeing 747 departed John F. Kennedy International Airport Sept. 20, 2014 with 100 tons of emergency medical assistance for communities gripped by Ebola. The airlift -- the largest to depart the U.S. since the outbreak began -- was bound for Liberia and Sierra Leone. (Photo: PR Newswire)
A Direct Relief-chartered Boeing 747 departed John F. Kennedy International Airport Sept. 20, 2014 with 100 tons of emergency medical assistance for communities gripped by Ebola. The airlift — the largest to depart the U.S. since the outbreak began — was bound for Liberia and Sierra Leone.
(Photo: PR Newswire)

Humanitarian groups have sent nearly $6 million in medical supplies to West Africa to help in the fight against Ebola.

The airlift left Saturday from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on a chartered Boeing 747 airplane bound for communities in Liberia and Sierra Leone, two of the countries hardest hit in the Ebola outbreak.

The 100 tons of supplies include gloves, masks, gowns, goggles, saline, antibiotics, oral rehydration solution and pain killers. Ebola can cause excruciating pain, as well as severe vomiting, diarrhea and bleeding, making it important to offer pain relief and to rehydrate patients as quickly as possible.

“We must do all we can to reduce further the human tragedy caused by this deadly outbreak and help communities avoid an even deeper setback than has occurred already,” said Chief Executive Thomas Tighe of Direct Relief, which helped organize the airlift.

Basic medical supplies are in short supply in countries where Ebola has hit. Many hospitals lack even running water and soap, according to officials from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who testified about the epidemic on Capitol Hill this past week.

Charities contributing to the airlift include the Clinton Foundation, Direct Relief, Last Mile Health, Africare and the Wellbody Alliance.

The United Nations has said that controlling the epidemic will require the world to increase its efforts twentyfold and to spend $1 billion in the next six months. The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Thursday to launch a medical mission to West Africa to fight Ebola, and President Obama announced that he is sending 3,000 American troops.

That makes a major change in the world’s response to the 6-month-old epidemic.

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SOURCE: USA Today – Liz Szabo