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Ebola outbreak prompts food scarcity and threat of social conflict

FURTHER DETAILS ON THE IMPACT OF EBOLA ON LIBERIA

THE GUARDIAN                                        Oct. 23, 2014

By Clar Ni Chonghaile

 

A market in Kolahun, Liberia, where Mercy Corps says the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak is causing great hardship. Photograph: Mercy Corps

Farmers in Liberia are too frightened to work together in their fields, fertilisers and seeds are stuck on the other side of closed borders, markets are almost empty, people have less money because jobs that involve physical contact with others are disappearing, and prices for everything from cassava to palm oil are rising.

It’s a devastating chain reaction sparked by an unprecedented outbreak of disease in one of the world’s poorest countries. Beyond the high mortality rate and human suffering, aid agencies fear the fabric of a society that endured a brutal civil conflict may be ruined.

Ten months after the Ebola outbreak started in Guinea, evidence is mounting that the crisis may be reversing more than a decade of fitful progress in west Africa.

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UK pledges £80m more aid to tackle Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone

 

UPDATE:   EUROPEAN UNION ANNOUNCES ADDITIONAL FUNDING, NAMES AN EBOLA COORDINATOR 

NEW YORK TIMES   

By James Kanter and Andrew Higgins                                                                      OCT. 24, 2014

BRUSSELS--

...  Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, announced tody that Christos Stylianides, the coming European commissioner for humanitarian aid and crisis management, would be named Ebola coordinator.

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Microsoft co-founder Allen to give $100M to fight Ebola

USA TODAY                                                                                               Oct. 23, 014
Bt Brett Melino

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen says he will pledge at least $100 million to help fight the spread of Ebola.

In a statement released through his personal website on Thursday, Allen says the funding will go to the State Department to develop medevac containment units to evacuate health professionals from West Africa.

Allen is also working with the University of Massachusetts Medical School to donate funds to offer training, medical workers and equipment in Liberia, one of the nations hardest hit by the Ebola epidemic....

Allen is not the first prominent tech name to lend their fortunes toward the Ebola crisis. Last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, gave $25 million to the CDC Foundation. Last month, fellow Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates donated $50 million through his foundation to battle Ebola.

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Liberia president describes heavy cost of Ebola

Liberia's president calls for more investment in health systems, news article, op-ed

ASSOCIATED PRESS                               Oct. 20, 2014

by Jonathan Paye-Layleh

Monrovia, Liberia — Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said Ebola has killed more than 2,000 people in her country and has brought it to “a standstill,” noting that Liberia and two other badly hit countries were already weakened by years of war.

Appealing for more international help, Sirleaf described the devastating effects of Ebola in a “Letter to the World” that was broadcast Sunday by the BBC.   https://soundcloud.com/bbc-world-service/a-letter-to-the-world-on-ebola-...

“Across West Africa, a generation of young people risk being lost to an economic catastrophe as harvests are missed, markets are shut and borders are closed,” the Nobel Peace Prize laureate said. “The virus has been able to spread so rapidly because of the insufficient strength of the emergency, medical and military services that remain under-resourced....”

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Global Economy Facing Environment, Sustainability Skills Deficit

environmentalleader.com - October 16th, 2014

By 2020 the world economy could be facing a skills deficit driven by mega-trends such as population growth, increasing demand for natural resources, and soaring costs of energy, coupled with the impacts of climate change and ecosystem degradation, according to a report by the Institute of Environmental Management & Awareness.

Although the transition to a sustainable economy presents significant opportunities for business, according to an IEMA survey of over 900 organizations, only 13 percent of companies are fully confident that they have the skills to successfully compete in the sustainable economy.

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UN Ebola trust fund gets $100,000, almost $1 bln needed

REUTERS                                 Oct. 17,2014

By Michelle Nichols and Lesley Wroughton

UNITED NATIONS/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A United Nations trust fund seeking nearly $1 billion for rapid, flexible funding of the most urgent needs to fight Ebola in West Africa has received a deposit of just $100,000 nearly a month after it was set up.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said on Sept. 16 that $988 million is needed to tackle the deadly hemorrhagic fever over the next six months. Since then $365 million has been committed to stop Ebola in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, which have been hit hardest by the epidemic.

Nearly all that money was donated directly to U.N. agencies and nonprofits working in West Africa with just $100,000 paid by Colombia into the trust fund set up by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, according to U.N. records.

Some diplomats and officials said many donors had made commitments to U.N. agencies before the trust fund was established. Others said donors were already overstretched and suggested they might be wary of how money put into the trust fund would be spent.

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Ebola outbreak is not just a human tragedy. It’s also an economic one

LIBERIA: ANALYSIS OF EBOLA'S IMPACT ON THE ECONOMY

WASHINGTON POST                           OCT. 15, 2014

By Ylan Q. Mui
MONROVIA                                      

"  the (Ebola) tragedy encompasses not only those who lost their lives and their families, but also the dreams of a country that was on the cusp on an economic resurgence. With critical public works projects in limbo and businesses struggling, the virus is threatening Liberia’s chance to escape generations of poverty and join Africa’s rising prosperity.

“Liberia was moving,” said Estrada Bernard, chairman of the International Bank in Liberia and the Liberian president’s brother-in-law. “'The whole thing hinges upon how well we can get this virus under control.'”

People do business at the Waterside local market in the center of Monrovia, Liberia, over the summer. Just as their economies had begun to recover from the man-made horror of coups and civil war, the West African nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have been knocked back down by the Ebola virus. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh, File)

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Head of World Bank Makes Ebola His Mission

NEW YORK TIMES                                                                                        OCT. 14, 2014

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During a tense discussion, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, the World Bank president, spoke sharply to Dr. Margaret Chan, the head of the World Health Organization, the agency in charge. You have the authority to act in this emergency, he told her, according to people familiar with the meeting, “so why aren’t you doing it?”

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Ebola outbreak threatens peace, security, WHO chief says

GENEVA — The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is “unquestionably the most severe acute public health emergency in modern times,” Dr. Margaret Chan, the director general of the World Health Organization, said Monday.

Chan, who dealt with the 2009 avian flu pandemic and the SARS outbreaks of 2002-03, said the Ebola outbreak had progressed from a public health crisis to “a crisis for international peace and security.”

“I have never seen a health event threaten the very survival of societies and governments in already very poor countries,” she said in a statement delivered on her behalf to a conference in Manila, Philippines, and released by her office in Geneva. “I have never seen an infectious disease contribute so strongly to potential state failure.”

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Ebola Vaccine Would Likely Have Been Found By Now If Not For Budget Cuts: NIH Director

HUFFINGTON POST

By Sam Stein                                                              Updated Oct. 13 ,2014

BETHESDA, Md. -- As the federal government frantically works to combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, and as it responds to a second diagnosis of the disease at home, one of the country's top health officials says a vaccine likely would have already been discovered were it not for budget cuts.

Dr. Francis Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health, said that a decade of stagnant spending has "slowed down" research on all items, including vaccinations for infectious diseases. As a result, he said, the international community has been left playing catch-up on a potentially avoidable humanitarian catastrophe.

"NIH has been working on Ebola vaccines since 2001. It's not like we suddenly woke up and thought, 'Oh my gosh, we should have something ready here,'" Collins told The Huffington Post on Friday. "Frankly, if we had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this that would've gone through clinical trials and would have been ready."

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