Lifestyle

Africa's Ebola crisis too close to home for Sarah

Sarah King, of Lismore, thinking about how her family and friends are affected by the Ebola virus, back in her hometown of Freetown, Sierra Leone.
Sarah King, of Lismore, thinking about how her family and friends are affected by the Ebola virus, back in her hometown of Freetown, Sierra Leone. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

EVERY time the phone rings, Sarah King's heart sinks.

Sometimes she is reluctant to answer, fearing the worst.

In her home country, Sierra Leone, where most of her family and friends live, Ebola has claimed more than 1130 lives with the number of recorded cases falling just short of 5000.

"It is terrifying, even if I'm not related to anyone, to hear that people walking down the street just fall down and die oozing blood. It can affect anyone," she said.

"There was a time when I would go on Facebook every hour, if not more often, to see what the updates were.

"People are still dying and it's close to home, it's close to my family. You'll hear about someone dying just around the corner or just down the road."

Sarah King, of Lismore.
Sarah King, of Lismore. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Ms King's family, including her mother, sister, nieces and nephews, live in the Sierra Leone capital Freetown, one of the Ebola "hotspots" identified by medical aid organisation MSF.

Since 2008, Ms King has called Lismore home. It's something she would desperately like to be able to offer her family.

"If I was able to get my family out I would," she said. "You're here and not able to bring them over to get them to a safe place. Every time the phone rings my heart sinks because you think, what are they going to say?"

Ms King said she would like to thank the Australian government for its help, but appealed for more support, particularly for more train-ed and experienced medical staff in Ebola-affected areas.

She said she would also like to see the government consider offering temporary visas for family members to take them out of infected areas until the situation gets better.

Ms King said she was establishing a charity that would send food supplies and mon-ey to families and orphanages in Sierra Leone.

MSF says every district in Sierra Leone is now affected by the epidemic.

It said the government's response had been hampered by a lack of resources and co-ordination.

Topics:  ebola, editors picks, lismore



Shark attack: What's next for the Ballina surf club?

President of the Ballina Lighthouse and Lismore Surf Life Saving Club, Craig Nowlan.

Last year's spate of attacks was not just a "blip on the radar"

'Bungled' shark management plan failed the community: Labor

Plans for shark barriers on the North Coast have been abandoned.

"Surfers are still being put at risk because of government inaction"

DEADLY BEACHES: History of shark attacks on the North Coast

Tadashi Nakahara was killed by a great white shark in February 2015.

Today's shark attack was the seventh shark attack in two years

Local Partners

Apocalyptica 'seek and destroy' sceptics with 'master' set

Apocalyptica play Max Watts in Brisbane on their Shadowmaker Tour.

Review of final show of Apocalyptica's tour

Rebecca Hall doesn't own a TV

Newspapers, yes. Television, not so much

Jaime King 'terrified' by son's heart surgery

Jamie King was "terrified" when her son went in for heart surgery.

John Mayer's advice for Shawn Mendes

Shawn Mendes has revealed John Mayer gave him advice

Josh Brolin and Kathryn Boyd tie the knot

Josh Bolin marries in front of close friends and family

Marilyn Manson wants a 'nice' girl

Marilyn Manson wants a girl who understands both of his identities

Buyers forking out millions

Owners benefiting from undersupplied Northern Rivers market

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.

Sunshine Beach property breaks real estate record

The property overlooks Sunshine Beach, as the backyard lawn meets the sand.

Sunshine Beach mansion sale smashes real estate record

New $33 million development planned for Ballina Shire

The site of a proposed seniors living development at Skennars Head.

Plans include 211 homes, clubhouse and recreational facilities

SOLD: Historic hotel finds new owner

Post Office Hotel Grafton

Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner

Pub in new hands and heading in a brand new direction