GENEVA (dpa) – The Ebola epidemic could turn into a food crisis in West African countries, the World Food Programme (WFP) warned Friday, as two new cases in Mali and New York stoked fears that the disease could spread further internationally.
“The spread of Ebola is disrupting food trade and markets in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and the region,” WFP spokeswoman Elizabeth Byrs said about the countries at the centre of the outbreak.
In Liberia, there is a risk that the disease could hurt agriculture and lead to surging commodity prices, the UN agency said after conducting an assessment together with the government in Monrovia.
So far, WFP has delivered more than 13,000 tons of food to 776,000 people in the three countries. However, donors have so far provided only half of the required 93 million dollars for food aid.
The disease spread to Mali, where authorities on Thursday confirmed the first case.
A 2-year-old girl had tested positive for the disease after arriving from neighbouring Guinea.
The virus had previously also spread to Senegal and Nigeria, but WHO has declared that the limited outbreaks in these two countries have ended.