Hunger Day Collection will help Ebola-stricken west Africa and elsewhere

Aapo Huhta
In regions where there is Ebola, money is needed to employ the staff needed both to treat patients and to disseminate information.
Image: Aapo Huhta

The Finnish Red Cross needs you all to pitch in and help with the Hunger Day Collection from 18–20 September 2014. Everyone is welcome to take part in this year’s Hunger Day campaign. No previous Red Cross experience is required. Collectors and donors are needed all over Finland.

Become a collector!

Anyone can become a Hunger Day collector, either alone or as part of a group. Sign up at www.hungerday.fi

Make a contribution to the Hunger Day Collection:
  • By phoning 0600 12220 (€20.12 per call + local network charge)
  • By sending the text message ‘SPR’ to the number 16499 (€15 per text message)
  • Online at www.hungerday.fi
  • Through MobilePay, using the number 040 135 88 00

Aid is urgently needed to contain and fight the life-threatening Ebola virus, particularly in west Africa which is suffering the worst ever outbreak. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that more than 1,500 people have already died of the Ebola virus, with another 3,000 suspected of having contracted the disease. Since April 2014, a total of nine Finnish Red Cross aid workers have been sent into the region.

The Finnish Red Cross is helping to support an Ebola clinic that is currently being built in Sierra Leone. It will open this week and make it possible to treat 60 patients at a time.

– The situation is worst in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Liberia’s capital Monrovia is a huge city with more than a million inhabitants. It would be particularly difficult to control the spread of the disease there, says Red Cross healthcare adviser Tiina Saarikoski, who this week will start working at the Red Cross Ebola clinic.

In regions where there is Ebola, money is needed to employ the staff needed both to treat patients and to disseminate information.

– At the Ebola clinic, all staff members have to wear fitted protective suits, which makes the work very difficult. One shift can last no longer than an hour, which means staff numbers have to be high, says Saarikoski.

Drinking water and medicines needed in Gaza

The Red Cross is also appealing to donors to help them alleviate the humanitarian situation in Gaza. Thousands of people are desperately in need of drinking water, healthcare and a place to live after the fighting in Gaza.

– Some 11,000 people have been injured, and around 70% of those are civilians. Almost 600,000 people have had to flee from their homes, and more than 17,000 houses have been destroyed. Water, fuel, hospital supplies and medicines are all urgently needed, says the FRC head of International Aid, Kalle Löövi.

Funds raised in 2013 provided aid for the Philippines and the Balkans

Hunger Day funds raised last year enabled the Finnish Red Cross to participate in the huge aid operation needed in the Philippines after typhoon Haiyan. The Finnish Red Cross sent a staffed healthcare clinic, aid supplies, and aid workers to help distribute the supplies to storm-struck families in the Philippines.

In 2013, the Finnish Red Cross also helped people in the Balkans who had lost everything in the spring floods, and was also able to help refugees of the conflict in South Sudan.

Money donated to the Finnish Red Cross has also been used for development, such as helping people in known disaster-prone areas to improve their preparedness for natural disasters. The success of this work was evident, for instance, in the Philippines where the number of deaths caused by typhoon Haiyan were relatively low in areas where preparedness work had been done beforehand.

FRC Hunger Day is an annual collection that raises unallocated funds for the Finnish Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. The money is used to help victims of conflict and natural disasters around the world. The funds are also drawn on to help accident victims in Finland.

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