Ebola Update: Food Insecurity Sweeps affected areas

Although the death toll numbers have slightly subsided in different areas across West Africa, food insecurity is rapidly plaguing areas in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

According to reports by the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP), food insecurity will plague up to a million people by March 2015 if drastic action is not immediately taken.

Liberians in Monrovia queuing for food rations. Photo credit Ahmed Jallanzo EPA

Liberians in Monrovia queuing for food rations. Photo credit Ahmed Jallanzo EPA

FAO and WFP suggest that quarantines, hunting bans, and various restrictions taken to curb the Ebola virus have detrimentally affected a large number of community’s access to food. This includes access to food markets, processing chains and a result in crop losses which are in the highest Ebola infection areas. Not only has the disease affected food access, but labour shortages as now farming operations on field have disrupted the production chain in agricultural markets.

Looking at figures, Guinea has an estimate of 230 000 people severely food insecure, Liberia with 170 000 and Sierra Leone with 170 000 people. That calculates to 570 000 estimated with food insecurity to date!

 

Currently, to aid this situation FAO is assisting 200 000 people in the three countries through financial aid: – saving and loan schemes, and financial support to vulnerable households, women and children.

Apart from FAO, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) has partnered with various stakeholders including the government of Liberia and Ivory Coast, the African Development Bank, Among others, to create a better food system in Liberia by providing quality seeds to farmers in affected areas of the country for free.

Although this assistance is granted, there still needs to be immediate response from the rest of Africa, and donors around the world to ensure that less numbers of people are seized by the Ebola virus, and tremors it has caused in other economical sectors.