Since the last post of what was being done to curb the spread of ebola, it is important for us to see if the spread of the virus is being spread or not. Fortunately, we have good news , but we also bring the bad and the ugly.
We’ll start with the unfortunate first, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) the virus has infected 13 540 human beings and claimed the lives of 4 941 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone (as of 31st October). It has additionally killed a 2 year old infant and a doctor from Mali.
On top of the spread of the virus, UN Special Repporteur on the right to food Hilal Elver warned that the affected regions are on the brink of a major food crisis. “While the countries hardest hit by the Ebola crisis struggle to contain the devastating virus, they now face a new challenge with experts predicting that over a million people in the region need food aid to allay shortages,” Ms. Elver stated.
Furthermore, Farmers in West Africa are affected by the crisis, as they are suffering from the fear and panic that riddled the region. Some farmers have abandoned their farms in turn disrupting food production, creating a shortage of supply in the midst of a demand that needs to be fed. Due to the scew economical scale, food prices soar at such an unstable climate. “Staple crops such as rice and maize will reportedly be scaled back due to shortages in farm labour with potential catastrophic effect on food security.” She further warned.
Hunger strikes and poor infrastructure has also affected food security, as remote areas have poor road accessibility, and the fact that local leaders of a village in Guinea have gone on hunger strike in protest against the military’s presence there after an Ebola awareness team was killed in September.
THE GLIMMER OF HOPE
Although food security has not been immediately addressed, countries outside Africa still continue to pledge aid to help curb the spread of the virus, namely Ireland and Japan. The Japanese government has decided to dispatch four additional experts to Liberia and Sierra Leone through WHO this month.
Japan also pledged that it would extend its assistance totalling to 40 million US Dollars as an additional response to Ebola, along with 22 million USD worth for aid through international organizations. The vast of the funds will be utilized in provision of pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, and other supplies for treatment centres in all affected countries. The other bulk will be injected to enhancing logistic capacities and rehabilitating health infrastructures to the Ebola response multi partner Fund (MPTF), furthermore supporting the activities of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER)
In Ireland, three members of the Irish Defence Forces will be deployed to Sierra Leone to reinforce the country’s capacity in Sierra Leone as international relief increases. They will be deployed to Freetown at the Irish Embassy in Sierra Leone.
Meanwhile in Africa, one of the affected countries are pulling in their weight to ensure that the virus doesn’t engulf their population and leave families traumatized. Sierra Leone government is taking into account families of health workers who have died as a result of their altruism in treating Ebola patients; the country is offering USD 5000 in compensation to families of these heroes.