In this photo taken on Monday, July 28, 2014, people hang out in a street under a banner which warns people to be cautious about Ebola, in Monrovia, Liberia.

(AP Photo/Jonathan Paye-Layleh)

Colorado's Liberian community has started collecting medical supplies to send to Liberia to help with the Ebola outbreak there.  About 2,000 Liberians live in Colorado, including Naquetta Ricks of Aurora, who was born in that country.

Ricks, also a candidate for the University of Colorado's Board of Regents, says she's been speaking with family and friends in her native country who are grappling with food shortages and a lack of medical care.  

"People are just panicking and trying to do a mass exodus, if they can afford a plane flight to come out," she told "Colorado Matters" host Ryan Warner. Most airlines have shut down service to Liberia and ticket prices have skyrocketed. 

Ricks came to Colorado with her family after a military coup destabilized Liberia in the early 1980s. The country suffered through a long period of civil war since then, which hurt the nation's economy and infrastructure. That legacy makes the Ebola outbreak all the worse now, Ricks says.
Ricks says there are only two working ambulances in Monrovia, Liberia's Capital city. It takes about four hours to pick up a dead body, meaning corpses are left to lay in the street for days at a time. 
The government has effectively shut down, Ricks says. And because it's the country's biggest employer, many Liberians aren't receiving pay checks and can't afford food.

"They are starving," Ricks says. "People are very scared and panicked." 

The supplies Ricks' group is collecting will be shipped out by the end of the month and will be distributed in Liberia by Doctors Without Borders. They are looking for health supplies like gloves, powdered bleach, and money for volunteers on the ground level.

"People on the front lines picking up bodies are not being paid," Ricks says.

If you want to help with the Ebola outbreak in Liberia:
To drop off supplies:
Christ Vision Ministries
262 Havana Street
Aurora, CO 80010
To donate money:
United Liberians of Colorado
Contact: Daniel Moore (720)383-3523
or Nwane Lee (720) 297-3317