Ebola Epidemic

Helping communities regain their strength

Situation Overview

Ebola is a serious virus with a death rate of up to 90%. Since the Ebola virus was first identified in 1976 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, there have been a number of outbreaks in Africa, but none nearly as devastating as the 2014 outbreak in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. The outbreak, which lasted until 2016, sickened more than 28,600 people and resulted in more than 11,300 deaths. 

The threat of Ebola continues and SOS will continue to bring on-the-ground expertise and assistance to help children and families affected by Ebola outbreaks.

The Problem in Numbers

In the 2014-2016 Ebola Epidemic:



children lost a parent or caregiver



people lost their lives



people were infected


Bringing Countries to a Standstill 

The impact of the Ebola epidemic on children was severe. According to the US Centers for Disease Control, almost 20% of Ebola infections occurred in children under 15, and an estimated 30,000 children were made orphans by this epidemic. In addition, routine childhood immunizations fell by 30% during the epidemic, increasing the likelihood of children becoming sick from easily preventable diseases. 

The outbreak exacted a crippling toll on the economies and healthcare systems of the three countries, which were mired in poverty even before the Ebola outbreak. The epidemic led to increased poverty, food shortages, lack of drinkable water and limited access to medical centers – many of which were shut down to avoid spreading the disease. 

Our Role: Keeping Things Moving to Protect Children 

Across the three Ebola-affected countries, SOS Children’s Villages provided loving care for more than 800 children in eight different villages. Walso helped support local communities: 

In Sierra Leone, we evaluated the needs of children orphaned by Ebola, and provided others with food, medical care and psychological support. We also provided home study materials to the more than 2,000 students who attended our six schools in Makeni, Bo and Freetown. 

In Liberia, our medical center in Monrovia was among the few health facilities in the country that remained open at the height of the epidemicWalso partnered with the German government to alleviate Monrovia’s water crisis by digging wells at 10 public schools in the city, providing more than 5,000 students with clean drinking water.


Your Compassion in Action 

Thanks to generous people like you, we have been able to change the lives of hundreds of vulnerable children and families affected by Ebola. 

Unfortunately, the threat of Ebola continuesAlthough there has not been another Ebola epidemic as large as the 2014 one, we can expect additional outbreaks to occur. In 2018, 54 people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo contracted Ebola, and 33 of them died.  

At SOS Children’s Villages, we will continue to do all we can to keep children safe from this deadly virus, and we stand prepared to help children orphaned by, or otherwise affected by, future Ebola outbreaks. 

Take Action

Communities have reinvented themselves, regained their former strength through support by people like you. Let's help children in crisis and continue to rebuild lives together!

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