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A survivor's story

Fatmata's community in Sierra Leone spent three months in quarantine after Ebola broke out. A single case led to 42 infections and 29 deaths. This is Fatmata's story, in her own words.

When we first found out that Ebola had come to my village, I felt bad because it was my daughter who had been the initial patient.

She came to the village because she was ill, and three days after she died, she was found to be Ebola positive. I felt bad because it was a result of the love that the rest of the community showed my daughter that Ebola spread and other people became sick.

After my daughter's death, we were quarantined and soon after that I began to feel feverish. My son called an ambulance to take me to Kenema General Hospital. I was taken to the hospital with my children and grandchildren - many of whom have now also died. When I was told that I too had Ebola, I was seriously traumatised and distraught.

I was taken to the Red Cross treatment centre in Kenema and while I was there I started responding to the treatment. I spent a month there in total, in October. They gave me treatment and counselling and responded to all of my needs.

I have been treated fine by the local community since coming back but have struggled because my belongings were burned, including my money. It is custom here for women to keep savings in their mattress and mine had to be burned because of the risk of contamination. I am appreciative that the community is now free of Ebola, but because of the outbreak and new by-laws restricting movement, farming activities have been abandoned.

There are also a lot of orphans and widows who have been left behind, and although we try, it is difficult to care for them. We support each other but we don't have enough food. I am aged, which restricts me and I am not physically fit to cater for my needs.

Red Cross is committed to fighting the Ebola outbreak as long as it lasts. Can you help?

Photo: British Red Cross/Anna MacSwan

Thank you

Australian Red Cross has now closed the Ebola Outbreak 2014 Appeal.

Thanks to the generosity of the Australian community, we raised $1.2 million to provide humanitarian assistance to communities affected by the spread of the Ebola virus disease.

If you have raised funds for the Ebola Outbreak 2014 Appeal that have not yet been banked, please call us on 1800 811 700.