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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

8/27/2014 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Many areas of West Africa cut off from food and water; panic spreads

As the horror of Ebola spreads throughout much of West Africa, a longtime and even more insidious killer is now stalking the land: starvation. Villages that have been quarantined on account of the killer virus have been cut off from receiving food and water. If the Ebola doesn't fell these villagers, the more familiar specters of thirst and starvation are near.

Food prices in Liberia are 'rising steeply and people are hungry,' Father Crisafulli says. 'Markets in the city that are usually bustling are now empty and no trading is happening.'

Food prices in Liberia are "rising steeply and people are hungry," Father Crisafulli says. "Markets in the city that are usually bustling are now empty and no trading is happening."

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/27/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Africa

Keywords: Ebola, Liberia, Sieera Leone, markets, distribution, starvation


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In Monrovia, Liberia's capital, church groups "are trying to get food and distribute it to families who have asked us to help, but movement is heavily restricted and there is little we can do," according to Salesian Father Jorge Crisafulli, provincial superior in West Africa.

Monrovia neighborhoods have been sealed off under terms of the government-imposed state of emergency.

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The World Health Organization has estimated that more than 2,600 people in West Africa have been infected with Ebola since March, of that number, more than 1,400 people have died.

Food prices in Liberia are "rising steeply and people are hungry," Father Crisafulli says. "Markets in the city that are usually bustling are now empty and no trading is happening."

People are unable to get to work and, "while they still have to buy food, they have no money because they can't work," he said. "There is great fear of spread of disease where there are large groups of people."

The African nations of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea are the countries mainly affected by the current Ebola outbreak.

"Particularly in Liberia, Ebola has become an economic and social problem as well as a health problem," Father Crisafulli added. "Panic and fear are now greater problems than the disease itself."

"Feelings of isolation are brought on by international fear of 'Ebola countries' and banning of flights," he said, adding that "people feel like lepers of earlier centuries."

There are stories, however, of people recovering from Ebola and return to their families, and there are "stories of extraordinary courage" in the face of death.

Food prices have escalated, particularly since the border between Sierra Leone and Guinea was closed in June.

Many people in Sierra Leone buy their food with money earned the same day, mostly through informal trading, he said, noting that the closure of trading places has led to severe levels of hunger.

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