Have you donated to efforts working to halt the Ebola epidemic? If not, you’re not alone. The Washington Postreports that charitable giving to such efforts has been far less than that for other major disasters. For example, almost all of the funding received by the American Red Cross to date for its Ebola efforts has come from one donor and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has only raised 24% of its appeal target for fighting Ebola.
Jeremy Konyndyk, director of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance explains that “the kind of disasters that garner a lot of public support are the ones that are fast-moving and tend to look visually spectacular.” But Konyndyk points out that for this type of disaster, involving events such as typhoons, tsunamis, and earthquakes, all the damage is done before the media starts reporting, so there aren’t many lives left to be saved. But for the Ebola outbreak, there is still much to be done to save lives.
Margaret Aguirre, head of global initiatives for International Medical Corps, thinks that the problem may also be competition with other scary news, such as the Islamic State’s spread into Syria and Iraq and a bloody rebellion in the Ukraine.
A few big donations have been announced. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has committed $50 million to the fight and Mark Zuckerberg and his wife announced a $25 million donation to the Centers for Disease Control Foundation.
If you want to donate but aren’t sure which organizations are involved with the fight, the USAID’s Center for International Disaster Information has provided lists of trusted and experienced organizations conducting relief operations in West Africa and tips on how to help.