Ebola threatens to leave 1 million in need of food in west African countries hit by the deadly virus. New fears have arisen after Doctors Without Borders warned the outbreak could last another six months.
Ebola, which has claimed the lives of 1,145 people, now threatens to leave 1 million without food, according to the UN World Food Program (WEP). Road and port blocks imposed to help quarantine the deadly disease are also leading to soaring prices.
As more regional airlines suspend flights to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the current situation is set to rapidly decline.
Fruit and vegetables have ceased to arrive in Guinea’s capital of Conarky and in neighboring Sierra Leone and Libera, several markets have been closed.
As prices for staples such as rice increase by reports of 25 percent, many products from the southeastern Guinea remain unsold as no one wants to buy goods from the infected area.
Soaring prices have also hit Liberia after it closed down markets on its borders with neighboring infected countries.
Bushmeat hunters are also struggling after losing their livelihoods in the face of the worst ever Ebola outbreak. Some farmers have been forced to cut off their fields as bushmeat can carry the Ebola virus, leaving them unable to pay their rent.
On Thursday, Ivory Coast also blocked all access of ships from the four Ebola-afflicted countries to its port in Abidjan.
Like in ‘wartime’
The WFP, which has already been providing aid to thousands of people, is planning food conveys to send to the impoverished Ebola-stricken countries, as part of a regional emergency operation.
“It’s a health crisis, but it has impacted food security,” said WFP spokeswoman Fabienne Pompey.
In Geneva on Friday the medical charity, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) warned that the widespread outbreak could last another six months. The head of MSF, Joanne Liu said that more experts were needed in the hard-hit region.
“It is deteriorating faster, and moving faster, than we can respond to,” Liu told reporters. “Like in a war time, we have a total collapse of infrastructure.”
Liu said the world community needed to get the “upper hand” over the next six months.
At Ebola treatment centers, beds are continuing to fill up with patients faster than health workers can cope with, as scientists around the world race to provide a vaccine.