Ebola Provokes Panic, Hunger in West Africa

Liberian police control residents in Ebola quarantined area as they wait for food rations. (CNS photo/Ahmed Jallanzo, EPA)

Hunger and panic are spreading among people unable to work because of restrictions aimed at containing the spread of Ebola, say church workers in West Africa. In Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, church groups “are trying to get food and distribute it to families...but movement is heavily restricted and there is little we can do,” said Salesian Father Jorge Crisafulli, provincial superior in West Africa, on Aug. 22, speaking from Accra, Ghana. Neighborhoods in Monrovia have been sealed off by a government-imposed state of emergency. Officials report that more than 2,600 people in West Africa have been infected with Ebola since March, and more than 1,400 people have died. Food prices in Liberia are “rising steeply and people are hungry,” Father Crisafulli said, noting that usually bustling markets “are now empty and no trading is happening.” He said, “Ebola has become an economic and social problem as well as a health problem,” noting that “panic and fear are now greater problems than the disease itself.”

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