TOKYO—The Bridgestone Group has announced two grants worth a total of $1 million to support efforts to combat the Ebola virus in West Africa, the tire and rubber products giant said.
Tokyo-based Bridgestone Corp. will contribute $500,000 to help UNICEF fight the spread of Ebola in Liberia and Nigeria, Bridgestone said. Nashville-based Bridgestone Americas will give $500,000 to the Christian aid organization Samaritan's Purse to fund its work fighting Ebola in Liberia.
With its 118,000-acre natural rubber plantation near Harbel, Liberia, Bridgestone and its employees have been affected directly by the spread of the deadly virus, the company said.
Since the current outbreak of Ebola began, 71 persons with connections to the plantation—including employees, family members, retirees and people from surrounding communities—have contracted the virus, according to Bridgestone.
The Firestone Medical Center on the plantation has so far helped 17 infected persons survive the virus, the company said. Also, Bridgestone is conducting active case management, investigations, contact tracing and intervention measures including public education to help the company's 8,000 employees in the region and another 72,000 living nearby, it said.
Bridgestone's funds are intended to strengthen efforts to stop the spread of Ebola through raising public awareness, facilitating delivery of in-home care supplies, enhancing medical treatment and providing support for children orphaned in the epidemic, according to the company.
“We know that it will take everyone—every citizen, government official, health worker and company in the region—to provide the education, resources and supplies needed to stop the spread of this disease,” said Yutaka Yamaguchi, Bridgestone Group vice president and senior officer.
“More support is needed, and we hope others will join Bridgestone in supporting organizations that are on the front lines of this global health crisis,” Yamaguchi said.