HAWTHORNE (CBSLA.com) — Though most of its victims are thousands of miles away, the Ebola virus is having a profound impact in Southern California.
With plans by the Liberian government to open more than two dozen treatment centers within the next few months, locals like David Beyans are working tirelessly to gather supplies.READ MORE: USC Places Sigma Nu Fraternity On Interim Suspension After Reports Of 'Possible Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assaults'
“It’s devastating. It’s spiraling out of control,” said Beyans, coordinator of Southern California’s Ebola Task Force. “Liberians are dying in large numbers on a daily basis.”
Beyans last returned from the region two months ago and explained how cultural traditions for burying loved ones has put mourners at- risk.
“Sometimes, they bathe the bodies and sprinkle the water on all the members, especially like a chief or some imam dies,” he said.
On Monday, he and others packaged supplies at a Hawthorne public storage facility.
“We got a wish list from the Ministry of Health. They asked for mattresses, body bags, slippers,” said Gracie-Ann Dinkins, a trauma surgeon.
Dinkins, who is a Liberian-American, has worked at U.S. hospitals for more than 20 years and explains that conditions here are nothing like those abroad.READ MORE: Long Beach Man Killed In Fatal Collision
A fellow doctor back home, in fact, told her that the hospital in which he works does not have electrocardiogram machines.
“It’s absolutely essential that we get this equipment across,” explained Dinkins.
Her hospital, Long Beach Memorial, will send two lifesaving heart monitors and boxes of medical supplies.
Other hospitals and individuals have also stepped up.
“We can’t get there physically to help them out, but this is our way of helping to the supply relief effort,” said Samuel Hoff of the Liberian-American Organization of Southern California. “They are not in this fight alone. We are with them all the way.”
The shipment of the medical supplies is expected to cost about $10,000. Volunteers have raised about half that amount.
For more information on how you can help in the effort to get medical supplies to Liberia, please visit the Liberian American Community Organization of Southern California by clicking here. To learn more about Ebola, click here.MORE NEWS: Santa Fe County Sheriff's Confirm Alec Baldwin Fired Prop-Gun That Killed 1 Person, Wounded Another
This piece was produced by CBS2/KCAL9 Medical Producer Gerri Shaftel Constant.