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Ebola death toll tops 4,500 people in West Africa

Ebola death toll tops 4,500 people in West Africa
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The latest World Health Organisation (WHO) figures show the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed more than 4,500 people across Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, the three worst-hit countries.

The deadly virus has dramatically changed the lives of those left behind with an estimated 3,700 orphans across the region.

Miatta is from Liberia and both her parents succumbed to Ebola. Her father died in August. A month later she lost her mother. She struggles to cope with looking after her young siblings.

“I need a lot of help,” she explained. “I need money for their schooling, for their clothes, because all their clothes they left in the house. They burned everything.”

Sarah Crowe, UNICEF’s Crisis Communications Chief, spent five weeks in West Africa before returning to New York. She says she was “stunned” by the lack of support for organisations working on the ground.

‘‘The way in which Ebola has affected people is so profound, because it’s changed the way they live their lives; it’s changed the way they mourn their dead; and it’s changed the way people die. It’s a terribly undignified death,” she said.

Cote d’Ivoire, along with Mail, is at the top of a list of African countries vulnerable to a possible outbreak.

WHO is sending experts to Cote d’Ivoire to assess the state of readiness for Ebola. Social workers are being trained to provide life-saving education.

“We are in a high risk zone because if we don’t get the word out for prevention, we’re going to see cases in Cote d’Ivoire,” said social worker Kone Disso.

Meanwhile British forces have arrived in Sierra Leone.

Britain is deploying more than 750 military personnel to help set up treatment centres and an Ebola training academy as part of increased efforts to prevent the global spread of the virus.