Deputy State Department spokesperson Marie Harf briefed the press on Friday about the difficulty being seen in raising money to fight Ebola in West Africa.
So far, the United Nations' Ebola Trust Fund, which was supposed to raise $1 billion, has only gathered one donation of $100,000.
As Reuters explained, there has been around $365 million committed to stop Ebola in West Africa, but "nearly all that money was donated directly to U.N. agencies and nonprofits" operating there. "Some diplomats and officials said many donors had made commitments to U.N. agencies before the trust fund was established. Others said donors were already overstretched and suggested they might be wary of how money put into the trust fund would be spent."
The overall discouraging numbers led some of the State Department press corps to get creative.
"In terms of like a media campaign to get people to donate, have you thought about anything like the ALS 'ice bucket challenge,' how that was very successful and were able to -- a lot of people ... in terms of getting the public involved in that?" one reporter asked Harf. "It doesn't seem like a lot of people are donating."
But that doesn't seem to be in the cards right now.
"I think what we're focused on here is what governments can provide," Harf said. "Both in the form of donations, large donations, but also in the form of expertise, whether it's doctors, nurses, equipment, gear that can be sent to the region, to help to really contain it in West Africa, which what the experts say is the way, the best way to really do this. So we're focused from the State Department on what governments can do certainly in that regard."
Though there isn't an ice bucket challenge, there are a lot of places you can donate if you want to help aid the response to the crisis.
Hayes Brown is a world news editor and reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Hayes Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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