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Sailor on Ebola mission as virus kills 8 relatives; NAVY AID SENT IN BUT TOLL HITS 1Ok.

Byline: EXCLUSIVE by LUCY CLARKE-BILLINGS

A ROYAL Navy sailor is helping Ebola victims weeks after eight members of his family were killed by the virus.

Christian Blango sailed for his native Sierra Leone on an aid mission aboard the Royal Fleet Auxiliary's HMS Argus.

While preparing for the voyage in the UK he learned how his relatives, many of them first cousins, had died of the bug believed to have been spread at his grandfather's funeral.

As worldwide Ebola cases reached 10,000 yesterday with 4,922 deaths, Christian's dad Columba told how the tragedy only made his 27-year-old aircraft engineer son more determined to help battle the virus.

Columba, 58, former mayor of Southwark in South East London, said: "I am so proud of him for being so dedicated. We talked about how our family deaths might affect him, but he came across very prepared and solid about his decision. He considers it a duty and a service to his nation."

Christian's doctor grandad Jonas, 83, died of a heart attack last month. His funeral drew large crowds.

It is believed a mourner spread the disease. Columba said: "It was about four days after his funeral some family members started to show signs of Ebola. It is so important there are more people and resources out there. We are pleased with what the British are doing."

Christian's ship is taking troops and much-needed supplies to the war-torn country for a six month stint as part of the UK aid effort. The team will soon total 750 staff to provide medical care for up to 8,800 Ebola patients.

International efforts to combat the virus have been stepped up this week as the death toll across Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia rose steadily.

On Friday Mali became the sixth West African country to suffer an outbreak after the death of a toddler.

The World Health Organisation said the girl, two, died after a bus journey across two countries, exposing dozens of people to the virus.

A BRITISH expat's death has sparked Ebola panic in Thailand. Martin Clark, 68, was found in his Phuket flat after a trip to Nigeria. Health officials are carrying out tests to rule out the virus.

scoops@sundaymirror.co.uk

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COURAGE: Christian Blango

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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 26, 2014
Words:379
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