The Food and Agriculture Organization in Sierra Leone (FAO) released a report over the weekend that revealed a dire need for food and basic services in the country.
The report was completed in collaboration with the state Ministry of Agriculture Foresty and Food Security, Sierra Leone’s Awareness Times reports.
Dr. Gabriel Rugalema, the FAO country official, revealed that the entire country, and not just the areas infected with Ebola, have been hurt by the outbreak. Food security, she cautioned, has become a serious issue nationwide.
The study involved interviews of 702 residences, which included 351 community heads, 39 marketplaces, and 26 district headquarters.
Rugalema noted that Sierra Leone’s increasing death toll due to Ebola has created a serious labor shortage, which has resulted in insufficient people to perform key tasks, such as weeding and harvesting. Additionally, he said that fish costs have increased by 40 percent, while the cost of rice has risen by 13 percent.
Dr. Rugalema concluded by stating that immediate measures must be taken to bring back key agriculture sectors in Sierra Leone’s economy, as well as its infrastructure.
Marie Jalloh, Sierra Leone’s deputy minister of agriculture, said of the troubling issue resulting from Ebola, “The situation is sad. Ebola is not only a health issue. It affects the social, economic, political and many other sectors including agriculture.”
Separately, the United Kingdom announced Wednesday that it is sending about 750 military personnel to Sierra Leone to help combat Ebola. The UK will also deploy a medical ship and three helicopters to support the mission.
The latest statistics show that 879 people have died from the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone.