NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A mission took off from New York Saturday to bring direct relief to West Africa amid the Ebola virus outbreak.
As CBS 2’s Don Champion reported, the flight came as the entire country of Sierra Leone went under lockdown.
Direct Relief, an international humanitarian aid agency, chartered a Kalitta Air flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Sierra Leone and Liberia on Saturday.
“The physicians who are in scarce supply, well-trained, and critically important cannot do their jobs safely if they don’t have the basic protective equipment,” said Direct Relief chief executive officer Thomas Tighe.
The flight marked the eleventh time Direct Relief has sent supplies to West Africa since the start of the Ebola outbreak.
Many of the crates on the flight were filled with items readily available to doctors in America, but hard to find in West Africa, such as gloves and gowns. All 100 tons medicine and supplies were donated.
Meanwhile, the government in Sierra Leone issued the lockdown order to stop the spread of Ebola. So far, there are nearly 1,700 reported cases of the disease there.
Health care workers near the country’s capital had to leave victims’ bodies in the streets Saturday after they came under attack.
Dr. Mohamed Bailor Barrie just left his country weeks ago. Four of his close colleagues died of Ebola as they treated patients.
“It’s absolutely very difficult when you see your colleagues dying, but again, you think — if we don’t do something, what’s going to happen?” Barrie said.
The World Health Organization says Sierra Leone has recorded more than 560 deaths. There have been more than 2,600 deaths across West Africa.
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