A man suffering from Ebola was bundled into the back of an ambulance after he caused mass panic at a market in Liberia when he wandered in looking for food.
The unidentified man walked into a market in the capital Monrovia only to be chased from the area by panicked shoppers. Attempting to make off with loaves of bread, the man is then chased down the road by men wearing yellow protection suits, who eventually catch him and bundle him into the back of a UNICEF vehicle.
The footage emerged as it was revealed that food in countries hit by the West African Ebola outbreak is becoming increasingly expensive and difficult to find, as farmers are barred from accessing their fields in order to prevent the disease spreading, a UN food agency has warned. Those countries – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone all rely on grain from abroad to feed their people, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.
In one market in the Liberian capital of Monrovia, the price of cassava root, a staple in many West African diets, was up 150%. ‘Even prior to the Ebola outbreak, households in some of the affected areas were spending up to 80% of their incomes on food,’ said Vincent Martin, who is co-ordinating the agency’s response to the crisis. ‘Now these latest price spikes are effectively putting food completely out of their reach.’
The UN has said 1.3 million people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone will need help feeding themselves in coming months. The situation looks likely worsen, FAO said, because restrictions on movement are preventing labourers from accessing farms, and the harvest of rice and corn is set to begin in a few weeks. The World Health Organisation is asking countries to lift border closures because they are preventing supplies from reaching people in desperate need.
Ivory Coast decided last night to keep its borders with Guinea and Liberia closed but said it would open a humanitarian corridor to allow supplies in. The news comes as Ivory Coast’s football association said it will host the country’s African Nations Cup qualifier against Sierra Leone this weekend following a special national security council meeting. The decision, announced in a government statement published in local media today, comes one week after the government said it would not allow the match to go ahead, citing health concerns.
As of August 29, the World Health Organization had confirmed 935 cases of the deadly virus in Sierra Leone – including 380 deaths – though that number is likely to have since risen.