UNICEF supporter Orlando Bloom is the first Hollywood star to venture to Liberia since the tragic Ebola outbreak, according to the humanitarian program, and his emotional visit included trips to meet with locals in affected communities.
As a Goodwill Ambassador for the international charity, Orlando was reviewing how UNICEF is helping locals on the ground.
The 38-year-old spoke to children and families who had survived the deadly virus, including Ansu Anderson Turay and his six-year-old son, Abraham.
Ansu is raising his child alone, having lost his wife, two sons and two daughters to Ebola. “It’s quite hard to comprehend such a loss,” said Orlando, in a touching video about his trip. “They’re all just dealing with loss like that at such a profound level.”
The Pirates of the Caribbean star, who has a four-year-old son Flynn with his estranged wife Miranda Kerr, was seen donning protective gear over his UNICEF T-shirt, including a full body suit, rubber gloves and boots and a pair of goggles.
Orlando visited a primary school on the border with Sierra Leone that recently re-opened after a seven-month shutdown. He watched as children’s temperatures were taken and they were instructed to wash their hands before entering the classroom.
“Because of this outbreak, a million children in Liberia have had their school year cut in half,” said Orlando. “They’re excited to be back in the classroom but the precautions that every single one of them must follow every day are a reminder of the need to remain vigilant.”
The actor, who has been a UNICEF ambassador since 2009, also praised volunteers and staff in the capital city of Monrovia who have helped educate locals on how to avoid contracting the virus. Orlando noted how people he met were “determined to beat Ebola so that they can resume their normal lives”.
According to UNICEF, Ebola has infected more than 24,000 people – including over 5,000 children – and has killed nearly 10,000.
Orlando’s trip to Liberia followed a visit to Jordan in 2014, where he met children and families impacted by the Syrian crisis.