The New Dawn (Monrovia)

26 August 2014

Liberia: Ebola Worsen Food Crisis

Liberia, a soil-rich West African state with poor agricultural programs, is gradually slipping into a food crisis as nearby countries including Sierra Leone, Guinea and Ivory Coast from where it imports local agriculture commodities have all shut their borders over the ongoing Ebola crisis.

As of Monday, August 25, Ebola death toll had reached up to 1,500 victims across the affected countries, and Liberia is leading the fatalities.

During a weekend visist in Tubmanburg, Bomi County, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf re-enforced call for all Liberians to go back to the soil and make farms, as she sees the compelling sub-regional disconnect imposed by the deadly Ebola virus "as an example" for everbody to make farms.

"And let me tell y'all one thing, Ivory Coast has closed its border, just as we have closed ours too; Guinea has closed its border and Sierra Leone has closed its border. That means all those market women that used to go over there to bring food, that food not coming again. Everybody got to be able to... Liberia got to feed itself. This one here must serve as an example that it's time for everybody to go back to the farm," she said.

Speaking with Bomi County authorities as anxious citizens stood by a long Tubmanburg's main street on Saturday, President Sirleaf said citizens do not have to wait for "post-Ebola crisis," and urged that those are Ebola- freed should begin farming, feed their families and communities now and prepare for tomorrow.

Other than that, President Sirleaf fears that "the people will not give us their food," suggesting that the main thing after the Ebola crisis and even now is to go back to farming, and said "something got to be done to deal with trauma" after the Ebola crisis here.

Meanwhile, the Bomi County Superintendent Samuel Brown said Ebola has spread into five communities in Tubmanburg alone, and it has gone beyond the city to Clay and parts of the county.

Mr. Brown reported on Saturday that a victim had died in Clay and the body had been there for two days due to challenges faced by health team in Bomi, especially stressing that nearly all ambulances there are down.

Notwithstanding, he told President Sirleaf that on Friday, August 22, they received almost 1,000 bags of rice, 70 bags of beans and 60 cartons of oil for the Bomi quarantine center.

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