Operation USA to Ship Ebola Relief Supplies to West Africa

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Los Angeles nongovernmental organization to send protective equipment and cleaning supplies to Liberia.

"It’s important for the public to continue to support and fund ongoing relief efforts through private organizations, which are crucial to the fight against Ebola and which will not benefit from ‘Operation United Assistance.'” -Richard Walden

Operation USA, a Los Angeles-based international relief agency, today announced that it will send a shipment of ebola relief supplies--containing more than 6,000 pounds of personal protective equipment including 50,000 N-95 masks and 50,000 pairs of latex gloves, as well as hospital grade cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer and disinfectants--to West Africa this week. The Ministry of Health in Liberia has pre-cleared the shipment and will use the supplies to aid in treating those infected, isolating the outbreak and combating the further spread of the disease.

The organization will also aid other local groups, including West African expatriate communities in the Southern California area, by coordinating the shipment of those groups’ relief supplies by sea and potentially as part of future airlifts.

Operation USA’s deployment comes on the heels of the president’s announcement that the U.S. government will lead a major relief initiative in West Africa called "Operation United Assistance," which will send more than 3,000 military medical personnel to the area in an effort to curb the spread of Ebola.

“We are grateful to President Obama for addressing vital needs in ebola-ravaged countries, but the massive amount of supplies needed to support thousands of health workers and military personnel in the field will take up a great deal of the available airlift capacity heading to the area,” said Richard Walden, President and CEO of Operation USA. “As a private NGO, we’re fortunate to have secured transportation for this shipment—but, it’s important for the public to continue to support and fund ongoing relief efforts through private organizations, which are crucial to the fight against Ebola and which will not benefit from ‘Operation United Assistance’ funds.”

As of Wednesday, the official death toll had climbed to 2,400 across five countries. Experts fear the true impact may be far greater and could reach hundreds of thousands of deaths before the end of the year.

Operation USA previously responded to an Ebola crisis in The Congo (then known as Zaire) in 1995, sending an airlift of personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies to Kikwit General Hospital, where a localized outbreak killed 245 people.

HOW TO HELP:
Donate online at http://donate.opusa.org, by phone at 1-800-678-7255 or, by check made out to Operation USA, PO BOX 36188, Los Angeles, CA 90036-0188. Donations can also be made via text message: text AID to 50555 to donate $10. Text donations are collected for the benefit of Operation USA by the mGive Foundation and subject to the terms found at http://www.mGive.org/t.

Corporate donations supporting recovery efforts--personal protective equipment, including gloves, masks and protective suits, hospital-grade cleaning supplies, water purification supplies, and electric generators--are also being requested. Only new items in bulk are being accepted at this time. Transportation assistance–domestically and internationally by land, air and sea–is also being requested. For more information call 1-800-678-7255.

United Airlines air miles can be donated to Operation USA to support relief worker travel through United Airlines’ Charity Miles Program at https://secure.unitedmileageplus.com/CharityMilesSSO.jsp.

About OPERATION USA:
Founded in 1979, Operation USA helps communities alleviate the effects of disasters, disease and endemic poverty by providing privately funded relief, reconstruction and development aid throughout the world. The Los Angeles based non-government organization offers material and financial assistance to community-based organizations that promote sustainable development, leadership and capacity building, income generating activities, education, health services, and advocacy on behalf of vulnerable people.

Richard Walden, President and CEO of Operation USA, is available as an expert source on disaster recovery as well as effective approaches to combating disease outbreaks.

PRESS CONTACT:
Mary Dolan or Richard Walden
Operation USA
mdolan(at)opusa(dot)org; rwalden(at)opusa(dot)org
323-413-2353

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Mary Dolan
Operation USA
+1 (323) 413-2353
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Operation USA
since: 07/2009
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