Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Food Problem of Ebola

The Ebola virus has killed over 2830 Liberians and destroyed its healthcare system, but is also causing food shortage issues in the country of 4.1 million people. Two big things need to be kept in mind. Ebola hit Liberia in June right at the beginning of planting season. Thus, not as many crops were planted and there's a massive food shortage. For crops such as rice, the timing of planting is essential and throwing it off results in reduced harvests. The second thing is that Liberia imports more than half of its food. Liberia has great climate and land for farming. However, there is not much machinery and most farm work is done by hands. Thus, most farms are subsistence farms and not much surplus is farmed to be sold. Furthermore, not much livestock is raised. Since the Ebola outbreak picked up, food transport routes into Liberia have been disrupted making food access a serious issue. Liberia's borders are now completely closed and there's no cross-border trade. The World Food Program estimated that >750,000 people could lose access to affordable food by March 2015. 200,000 are having issues getting food right now.

This image shows that places with more Ebola cases have higher risk of food insecurity.

This adds extra urgency to controlling this outbreak. There's no way around solving this food issue without addressing Ebola first.

- Jimmy


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