Ebola Outbreak: NC Missionaries Evacuating 60 People

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- North Carolina groups, SIM in Charlotte and Samaritan's Purse in Boone, announced Tuesday they are bringing some of their missionaries home because of the growing Ebola outbreak in West Africa. SIM is similar to Samaritan's Purse, it's a Christian organization that sends missionaries across the world. SIM USA President Bruce Johnson said around 60 people, mostly nonessential personnel like children and spouses, will return to the U.S.

"I said, 'We need to do this because I care for your children as though they're my own grandchildren and I would want to do this if I was their grandfather,'" Johnson said.

The organizations are planning to move the 60 people out of Liberia to another area of Africa in the next couple of days. That group will stay in Africa for a 21-day fever watch to make sure they do not have the Ebola virus. Johnson said, the two groups are working with the CDC and state department to make sure the 60 people are cleared before coming back to the states. Right now, none of them are showing signs of the disease.

"It's a safety precaution for some of the children that we have there and some of the spouses. It just makes sense," Johnson said.

A doctor from SIM will remain in Liberia to care for Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, the two Americans with Ebola. They are both still in serious, but stable condition as of Tuesday night. There are other missionaries serving the organizations from different countries and Liberians who are still working in the care center. Samaritan's Purse and SIM plan on sending two more doctors and a few nurses to the area.

"Fear can grip us, but in SIM, yes, we're realistic about the situation, but we know that through protocol that we're following this can be eradicated and stopped. But we need more help," Johnson said.

He said the organizations are calling on the international community to help. He said they need help educating Liberians about the disease, how it spreads and its symptoms. Many Liberians do not even realize they have the disease until it's too late and it spreads to someone else. Johnson said that's part of the reason why there is such a high death rate.

For more information on the Ebola outbreak, click here.


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