As Ebola Takes Lives in Liberia, it Leaves Hunger in its Wake

As Ebola Takes Lives in Liberia, it Leaves Hunger in its Wake

Health workers load the body of an amputee suspected of dying from the Ebola virus during the rain on the back of a truck, in a busy street in Monrovia, Liberia, Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014.  Food in countries hit by Ebola is getting more expensive and will become scarcer because many farmers won't be able to access fields, a U.N. food agency warned Tuesday. An Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed more than 1,500 people, and authorities have cordoned off entire towns in an effort to halt the virus' spread.  (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
Health workers load the body of an amputee suspected of dying from the Ebola virus during the rain on the back of a truck, in a busy street in Monrovia, Liberia, Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014. Food in countries hit by Ebola is getting more expensive and will become scarcer because many farmers won’t be able to access fields, a U.N. food agency warned Sept. 2. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)

 

 The Ebola virus, which has killed more than 2,830 Liberians and collapsed the country’s health-care system, is also attacking Liberia’s food supply, bringing intermittent hunger to a wide swath of this country even as its 4.1 million people try to survive the epidemic.

The typical family income, already among the lowest in the world, has declined as the epidemic raged in recent months, shutting workplaces and killing breadwinners. Closed borders with Sierra Leone, Guinea and Ivory Coast have sharply reduced trade. Markets in villages and towns across the country have been shut down to limit large gatherings, which can abet transmission of the virus.

The planting and harvesting seasons were disrupted when Ebola hit the farm belt in June.

“We need assistance. We need food here in Foya,” said Joseph Gbellie, commissioner for this rural, largely agricultural district in Liberia’s northwest. “If we don’t get help, it’ll be serious, I tell you.”

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