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Ebola orphans: The children left behind as the deadly virus hits Sierra Leone

Victoria, Joseph and Joshua Munu were orphaned by the Ebola outbreak. Credit: ITV News/Dan Rivers

Joseph Munu is just 10 years old, and already thrust into the role of man of the house.

His little sister Victoria and adorable brother Joshua, three, sit close to him folded into his arms.

They’ve all become orphans after their mother and father both died of Ebola. Joseph speaks deliberately and softly in excellent English.

It’s not easy but I am coping up with that since I lost my mum and dad I have been facing a lot of problems.

It is difficult to look after my sister and brother.

– Joseph Munu, 10 years old

He is wise beyond his years and remarkably composed when talking about his parents who passed away last month.

All the children are being cared for by their Aunt Zainab, who herself has lost her husband to Ebola.

Joseph’s mother was forced to make an agonising choice: flee the virus and abandon her elderly mother or stay and say goodbye to her kids.

She decided to entrust her children with her sister-in-law, and care for her feverish mother. It was a fateful decision. Soon she too had contracted the virus and soon succumbed as her husband had before her.

But it meant Joseph, Joshua and Victoria all escaped the highly contagious virus.

The children's Aunt Zainab also lost her husband to Ebola. Credit: ITV News/Dan Rivers

Now they are lodging in a house with other members of the extended family. There are 26 of them in a tiny bungalow.

The Munus lost most of their possessions when their home was quarantined and it’s contents burnt once Ebola was confirmed.

What strikes me is that Joseph has no toys at all. He treasures a battered old mobile phone that his father gave him. It’s the only memento of his parents.

This little 10 year old doesn’t even have a photo of his mum and dad.

We watched as British Aid Agency Street Child deliver a new mattress, a sack of rice and some basic kitchen equipment.

Joseph Munu told ITV News, 'It is difficult to look after my sister and brother.' Credit: ITV News/Dan Rivers

Joseph is grateful, but he tells me he misses having his bicycle and football, both abandoned in the family home hundreds of miles away in Lunsar.

Street Child’s country director Kelsa Kargbo is staggered by Joseph’s maturity in the face of such turmoil. He tells me there are many other families like the Munus.

If this thing is not contained maybe by the end of November we will be talking about 10,000 orphans being created as a result of Ebola.

– Kelsa Kargbo, Street Child charity

Street Child considers any child who has lost the main breadwinner in their family to be “orphaned”.

Ten thousand kids suddenly catapulted into emotional and financial chaos - it is an appalling prediction, for one of the world’s poorest countries.

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