BIG-HEARTED Edinburgh residents have donated nearly £400,000 to fight Ebola – a third of the total raised across Scotland.
In just over a week they have given £396,200 to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) to help those affected by the deadly disease.
The money raised in the Capital alone could pay for 16,000 hygiene kits, potentially saving ten times as many lives across disease-ravaged West Africa.
A total of £14 million – including £1.2m from Scotland – has been raised since the ongoing appeal was launched last Thursday.
Scotland’s DEC chairman David Miller said he was “absolutely astounded” by the generosity of Scots and in particular contributors from Edinburgh.
He said: “It’s hard to understand why it should be that sort of figure unless it is because we launched our appeal here.
“That may have attracted more people. This shows a tremendous generosity of spirit, and this flow of money will enable agencies to accelerate the amount of help given.”
DEC chief executive Saleh Saeed added that the people of the Capital had been “incredibly generous”.
“This money will help us continue to deliver aid to millions who have been affected by the deadly Ebola outbreak,” he said.
“DEC member agencies are helping to combat Ebola in various ways, from supporting survivors and arranging safe burials to distributing hygiene kits and sharing information.
“This outbreak is not only a health crisis, but a humanitarian disaster, which could have serious repercussions across the world.”
This is the first time DEC, which is made up of 13 leading UK aid charities, has called for support to combat disease.
Previous appeals have focused on natural disasters, including the typhoon in the Philippines, the earthquakes Haiti and the tsunami in Thailand.
A donation of £25 can help protect three families from Ebola by providing them with hygiene kits including bleach, soap and buckets, saving between six and ten lives, while £50 can provide protective clothing such as gloves, masks, boots and gowns for three volunteers supporting people under quarantine.
The virus has already claimed nearly 5000 lives, with more than 13,000 cases reported worldwide, the vast majority of them in these same three countries.
n To make a donation to the DEC Ebola Crisis Appeal visit www.dec.org.uk, call the 24-hour hotline on 0370 60 60 900, donate over the counter at any high street bank or post office, or send a cheque. People can also donate £5 by texting the word SUPPORT to 70000.