Via ReliefWeb, a report from the FAO: Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak in West Africa - Executive brief, 22 October 2014. Click through to download the PDF. The summary:
• The current Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in West Africa is the world’s largest Ebola outbreak recorded to date. The epidemic is severely affecting Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, resulting in deaths and adversely impacting the food security of affected populations.
• If not addressed now, the consequences of the outbreak could lead to long-lasting impacts on farmers' livelihoods and rural economies. A multisectoral approach is required to contain the outbreak and stabilize affected areas.
• FAO is urgently calling for USD 30 million to support activities linked to its Regional Response Programme to the Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak over the next 12 months in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and at-risk countries. FAO is following a twin-track approach to help halt the tragic loss of life while at the same time protecting incomes, nutrition levels and food security.
The areas with high incidences of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) are among the most productive regions of the three affected countries (Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone), with both cash and food crop production impacted.
The outbreak has caused serious incomes opportunities losses, market disruptions and restricted trade flows both internally and across borders, leading to food price spikes in several markets, notably in Liberia. However, prices of some agricultural commodities have fallen significantly in producing areas, negatively affecting farmers’ income and access to food.
CHALLENGES FACING AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SECURITY
• Disruption of market linkages due to travel restrictions, leading to sharp price hikes and incomes opportunities losses.
• The likely labour shortages on farms would have severe implications for food and cash crop production in the affected areas, with the start of the crop harvesting, mainly rice and cocoa.
• Reduced crop production forecasts reported in areas with high incidences of EVD, which constitute some of the most productive regions of Sierra Leone and Liberia.
This increasingly worries me: That the collateral damage from Ebola will cripple the basic means of life in West Africa, causing vastly more loss of life than Ebola ever will, not to mention the stunting of a whole generation of children. I would hate to see the UN segue from begging for Ebola funding to begging for food relief.