August 7, 2014 7:19 pm

Ebola outbreak in West Africa hits close to home for many Edmontonians

Watch above: Edmonton is home to a small, but growing number of people from West Africa. And on Thursday, many came together to raise awareness of the Ebola outbreak impacting the region. Vinesh Pratap reports.

EDMONTON – Edmonton is home to a small, but growing number of people from West Africa who are watching the Ebola outbreak unfold with extreme anxiety, constantly worrying about their relatives.

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Thursday morning, community members marched to the Alberta Legislature to raise awareness about the outbreak that’s gripped West Africa.

“They just need everything,” said Jatu Sirleaf. “I’m using my school fees to send money for them to buy stuff to survive, and it’s not easy for me to do that.”

The Ebola outbreak started in Guinea, and spread to Sierra Leone and Liberia before reaching Nigeria. It’s in Sierra Leone and Liberia where more than 60 per cent of the deaths have occurred.

READ MORE: Liberia, Sierra Leone race to enforce Ebola quarantine

Gar Dorway says Sirleaf lost seven family members in just two days.

“She has 15 nieces and nephews that are in Liberia, and seven family members passed away, so they don’t have guardians to take care of them right now,” said Dorway.

“They need financial aid so we can take care of these children back home.”

The Canadian government and the Canadian Red Cross are working with the Sister Societies in the West Africa Partnership Program. This partnership will help the Sierra Leone, Liberian and Mali Red Cross Societies implement programming that will create stronger and healthier communities.

It’s estimated nearly 1,000 people have died of Ebola since March.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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