As the World Bank warns that Ebola could cost billions of dollars, ActionAid says the human cost of an economic crisis is families going hungry.
ActionAid’s Head of Humanitarian Response, Mike Noyes, said: “We are more and more concerned about the effect the Ebola outbreak is having on the economies of the countries affected and in the wider region both in the short and long term.
“This does not detract from the immediate severity of the crisis and the urgent need for medical equipment, doctors and nurses and public awareness and education campaigns.
“But at the same time farmers cannot go to their fields to harvest crops and people cannot go to the markets to sell them. The whole business sector is slowing down as people are quarantined or afraid to go about their normal daily lives for fearing of catching Ebola.
“This is directly affecting the people that we work with who are already going hungry and do not know how they will be able to feed themselves or their families in the long term.”
ActionAid has been responding to the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone and Liberia since its inception, delivering food aid to affected households, education materials to children where schools have been closed down, equipment such as rubber gloves and disinfectant to local clinics, survival packs to Ebola victims and their families who have had their belongings incinerated in an effort to contain the epidemic and running health education campaigns across both countries and Nigeria.
Mike Noyes is a public health expert and worked in West Africa for 10 years. He is available for interviews and can speak on:
- The economic crisis that could be precipitated in West Africa by the outbreak and how it is affecting people on the ground
- The urgent need for public health campaigns which educate people on how to protect themselves against Ebola
- The comparison between Ebola and HIV and AIDS in terms of the fear, stigma and discrimination that surrounds the disease
ActionAid also has spokespeople in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.