Beginning March 2014, a devastating Ebola outbreak in West Africa caused widespread suffering and damaged fragile public health systems. The nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone were hit hard by the crisis—the deadliest Ebola outbreak in recorded history—with more than 10,000 lives lost.
Red Cross Red Crescent teams delivered medical care and lifesaving aid to halt the spread of the disease. The American Red Cross joined the fight by deploying people to the outbreak zone and providing financial & technical support.
During the crisis, the lack of detailed maps in West Africa created challenges for contact tracing in remote areas. Distances between hospitals and rural centers, as well as the names and locations of villages along the border, were unknown. But maps created by volunteers helped.
From November 2015 to October 2016, the American Red Cross also led a grant-funded initiative to map Ebola-affected communities along the border of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Through mapping activities in rural border regions, volunteers visited more than 7,000 communities to create detailed maps, providing vital data for future emergency responses. Learn more about our work to map vulnerable communities around the world.