Local organizations donating to fight Ebola in Liberia

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- As the number of Ebola-related deaths continues to rise in Liberia, some local organizations are helping to fight the spread of the deadly virus.

The Liberian Organization of the Piedmont reached out to city leaders, asking for help. Winston-Salem, along with Novant Health and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center answered the call.

"It is a huge need. There are thousands and thousands of people that are suffering; that are crying today. There will be people that will die today because of Ebola," said Kendall Kauffeldt, of Samaritan's Purse. "It breaks my heart to see a country that is now being really ravaged by this wicked disease that causes fear and isolation."

The two hospitals are each giving $10,000-$15,000 worth of supplies to Samaritan's Purse, which will go directly to the people of Liberia. The supplies include masks, gloves and gowns.

Workers with Samaritan's Purse say the schools in the hardest-hit areas of Liberia are closed. The medical facilities are also shut down, because they cannot protect the caregivers there. Therefore, many victims of the virus are depending on family members to care for them.

"As a family, knowing that they will get protection as they care for each other, they will get medicines that are needed. This is going to provide hope," said Kauffeldt.

Kauffeldt says that about 2,900 people have died from Ebola since March, with 64 deaths last week alone. Though these numbers are staggering, he says, there have been reports of some areas of Liberia having a decrease in Ebola cases.

"If we, as human beings, don't come together and eradicate this disease, it's going to come back again," said James Y. Hunder Sr., of the Liberian Organization of the Piedmont.

Samaritan's Purse says there are about 4,000 Liberians within their organization, whom are currently battling the spread of the virus in Liberia. There are also 18 Americans there, some of whom are from Watauga County.

"The effort we are making, the support that is being received, is making an impact. But we need more," said Hunder.

Kauffeldt says the members of the organization who are in Liberia have been trained extensively. They pass along that training to the Liberians who will be receiving the supplies.

They say these workers go through a strict re-entry process before coming back to the States.

"Which includes a self-sequestering for 21 days," said Kauffeldt. "Monitoring of health through taking temperatures and a reporting to the department of health, that has to take place on a daily basis."

If you wish to donate towards the cause, you can do so through Samaritan's Purse.

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