The United Nations World Food Programme is scaling up its operations to provide food to around 1 million people living in restricted access areas in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
An outbreak of Ebola began in Guinea in December 2013, leading to an epidemic in West Africa. The outbreak was not detected until March 2014, after which it spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria. It is the most severe outbreak of Ebola in terms of the number of human cases and fatalities since the discovery of the virus in 1976.
As of 16 August 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported a total of 2,240 suspected cases and 1,229 deaths.
Towards a 1.3 Million Person Operation
In response to the continued spread of the virus, WFP is scaling up its operations through a regional emergency response that will provide food assistance to around 1.3 million people living in restricted access areas in the three affected countries that WFP serves. WFP has been and will continue to provide food to people in medical quarantines, people under treatment and their relatives, and to the most vulnerable people in the villages affected by the outbreak. (See Below)
WFP is responding to government and WHO requests to provide food assistance to individuals and communities affected by the Ebola outbreak, supporting their efforts to ensure people affected by the disease do not go hungry. The objective is to prevent a health Crisis to become a food crisis.
In the three countries, the food chain is threatened from the production to access to markets, and trading activities. Travel restrictions and displacements are likely to affect prices, as producers are leaving behind their lands, which are dedicated to both cropping and livestock production, in seeking areas perceived as safer from exposure to the virus
The bans in the consumption of traditional protein sources, specially bush meat hunted in the wild because of the potential for these animals, such as bats and apes, to host the virus, may also have implications to the food security and nutrition of the people in these communities;
On the top of that, hundreds of households have lost one or more of their members in working age as the majority of Ebola victims fall within the 15-45 year bracket. The reduction of household income coupled with the already observed food price rise will further deteriorate the food security situation. see more on page2