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West Africa: Severe Hunger Will Hasten Spread of Ebola

West Africa: Severe Hunger Will Hasten Spread of Ebola

The risk of hunger and malnutrition within Ebola-hit communities in West Africa is threatening to undermine the effectiveness of quarantine measures and, with it, the wider Ebola response, warns Christian Aid.

"Households, neighborhoods and even entire districts have been isolated in Sierra Leone,” Adrian Ouvry, Christian Aid's humanitarian programs manager told Christian Today. “To break the chain of transmission, you have to limit people's movements, but it is counter-productive to restrict their movement without addressing their basic needs." 

As the rate of infection continues to rise, Christian Aid is calling on the international community to address the problem of food insecurity for over a million people in quarantine in Sierra Leone.

Ouvry contends parents face daily the dilemma of being expose to the deadly virus or allowing their children to go without food.

Governments and aid agencies must recognize that quarantine will only be effective if those who are isolated are guaranteed a sufficient and constant supply of nutritious food and clean water,” said Ouvry. “Otherwise, the issue of hunger and food security will undermine the success of quarantine measures.”

Christian Aid has been working in Sierra Leone for over 25 years, delivering development programs through local partners to tackle issues such as gender-based violence and HIV.

Publication date: October 22, 2014