UNITED NATIONS: Ebola Epidemic Could Trigger Major Food Crisis

Reuters/Mike Hutchings

The United Nations and non-governmental organizations believe an Ebola crisis that continues to strengthen in the coming months will cause food shortages that could devastate regions in West Africa hit hardest by the virus.

The UN World Food Program (WFP) said it is ramping up efforts to feed more people in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, the trio of nations at the epicenter of the latest Ebola virus outbreak that has claimed over 4,000 lives. Border and market closures, restricted movements, and fear of the virus threaten food access in these areas, experts say.

Bettina Luescher, WFP’s chief North American spokesperson, told AP the agency needs to reach 1.3 million people in these nations. WFP has gotten food to 534,000 people thus far, and plans to reach another 600,000 to 700,000 this month.

“The world is mobilizing and we need to reach the smallest villages in the most remote locations,” Denise Brown, WFP’s regional director for West Africa, said in a statement Wednesday, according to AP.“Indications are that things will get worse before they improve. How much worse depends on us all.”

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