Ebola donations pale in comparison to past global crises
Posted October 20, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — When family members in Liberia told Addonise Paye that he could help address Ebola in the African country, he didn’t hesitate to take action.
“Almost every day, you see dead bodies falling on the streets,” he said. “When I talk to them, they usually tell me what they really need, number one is bleach.”
Paye has partnered with Raleigh's Helping Hands Mission to collect bleach, face masks and other items, which will be shipped to Liberia next week.
But some say donations for Ebola pales in comparison to the billions of dollars in money and supplies sent to Haiti and Japan in response to an earthquake in 2010 and a tsunami in 2011, respectively.
The problem is that Ebola lacks visual allure, said Barry Porter, regional chief executive officer of the Triangle chapter of the American Red Cross.
“It’s a virus. It’s not that visual loss of the home, perhaps that number of families displaced or shelters being opened,” he said.
Many are hesitant to send money because they’re not sure how it will help, Porter said.
Responding to an international medical crisis is much different than a natural disaster, said Porter, who added that officials are currently figuring out how to do so.
“The American people respond to crisis, and they've shown that time and time again,” he said. “And if they sensed that this was truly a crisis where they could make a difference, and they feel like their funds are making an impact, those donations would come.”