Bismack Biyombo donating $1 million in supplies to help coronavirus outbreak in the Congo

·3 min read

Charlotte Hornets center Bismack Biyombo knows how dangerous the COVID-19 pandemic is for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, his home country in central Africa.

While they had just 287 confirmed cases of the coronavirus as of Friday night, according to The New York Times, the country has been battling dangerous diseases for years. The country had more than 3,300 confirmed cases of Ebola in February, according to the United Nations, a disease that killed at least 2,250 people.

[ Coronavirus: How the sports world is responding to the pandemic ]

So, even though he’s on the other side of the world, Biyombo is working to make a difference.

The 27-year-old is donating $1 million worth of medical supplies to hospitals and clinics in the Congo through his foundation, and is expected to provide 10,000 medical masks, almost 800 hazmat suits and medical beds, per the report.

He’s working to find incubators to donate, too, and hoping to keep expanding the project.

“Let’s try to figure a way that we do this on a bigger scale and see how many people we can reach,” Biyombo said, via USA Today. “Let’s try to get as many clinics and hospitals equipped with something that they can treat the patients and protect doctors and nurses. That’s the motivation behind it.

“There are people on the ground who have been tremendously supportive in this process and putting our efforts together to save as many lives as possible.”

Biyombo is in his ninth season in the league, and his sixth with Charlotte, where he played his rookie season after being drafted No. 7 overall in 2011. He averaged 7.4 points and 5.8 rebounds off the bench this season before the coronavirus forced the league to suspend operations.

There were more than 2.1 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus worldwide as of Friday night, according to The New York Times, and nearly 700,000 in the United States alone.

Though social distancing efforts are being used to mitigate the virus’ spread in the United States and around the world, Biyombo knows that’s not an option for most people in the Congo.

"The Congo is not a county where you can tell people to stay at home," Biyombo said on Friday, via USA Today. "The population is roughly 80 million and about 70 percent of the population lives in poverty. They’re depending on daily pay. You can’t say, 'Listen, I want you to stay at home.' How is that going to work? That is the biggest fear for me.

“It’s going to be difficult. You talk to people back home and people are on the streets just finding ways to survive. A lot of people are in survival mode.”

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