Via ReliefWeb, a news release from the International Food Policy Research Institute: Preventing an Ebola-related Food Crisis. Excerpt:
As the Ebola outbreak continues to unfold, Shenggen Fan, director general of IFPRI, has released a press statement about the outbreak and the rising food crisis that is unfolding in West Africa.
"While the health impacts of Ebola are devastating, this recent outbreak is triggering a food crisis that may persist for decades, posing significant challenges not just for food security in the region, but also for future economic growth. Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone were already experiencing food security issues before the outbreak, and undernourishment has long been a problem.
"Now, schools in Sierra Leone have closed, shutting down critical feeding programs for children. And restrictions on the consumption of bush meat, the suspected source of Ebola, have eliminated a traditional source of protein and nutrition from local diets.
"In addition, the costs of staple foods – including rice and cassava – are rising precipitously in the affected areas as crops are abandoned and as labor shortages grow. Food that would be imported from these areas is not making its way to other regions, either. So, as we weigh the dangers of this dreaded disease, we must not forget the very real threats it poses to food security.
"The global community must come together to ensure that there are safety nets to protect not only those infected with the disease, but also those whose access to food is severely affected."