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A publication of World Bank on poverty has come up with a grim report of Ebola impact on Liberia. This report says that nearly half of the workforce that was functional at the start of outbreak of EBOLA is not working in November 2014. It also says that the worst hit among the population are daily wage workers and those who are self employed. Thankfully, those involved with agriculture are returning to work as harvest season approaches. Rising prices of commodities and falling incomes have hit poor people badly.


Reference: worldbank

Reference: worldbank

Monoriva, the capital city has the highest number of cases

By November 2014, more than 2500 people had died because of Ebola and more than 7000 known cases of this deadly disease. A good number of these cases have been reported from people belonging to poorest sections of the population living in densely populated Monoriva, the capital city. However, nearly all other counties of Liberia have been badly affected by Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). 

Economy of Liberia has been adversely affected

World Bank carried out a study with the help of Gallup Organization and Liberian Institute of Statistics and Geo-information to assess the economic impact of Ebola. This study included surveys done through mobile calls in October and then in November 2014. These surveys found that Ebola has crippled the economy of the country with nearly half of the workforce not reporting to work after the outbreak of this disease. One of the respondents from Bomi Country, a 39 year old male, said, ‘’The Ebola virus has tempered our economy. It has hurt our economic investments. Our businesses have been closed down and our country has been abandoned.’’ 

Wage earners and self employed are the worst affected

Self employed people are the worst hit as the markets they served have been closed. Before the outbreak, nearly 30% of the population was self employed but this percentage is down to just 10% now. There has been great reduction n the numbers of daily wage workers as nearly half of them haven’t reported since the outbreak. Many of the respondents said that they had not returned as their office or factory was closed.

It is the agriculture sector of the economy that is the only silver lining. People employed in rural farming areas have returned to work. Incidentally, the timing of the survey coincided with the start of the harvest season.

Rising rice prices have forced households to skip their meals

These economic effects have led to compounding of the miseries of the people as prices of rice have jumped by nearly 40%. What is more alarming is that people do not have the money to buy food products. Number of daily meals has been reduced in many homes and adults have cut down on consumption to aloe kids to eat. Nearly 90% of the respondents said that there would not be food for them to eat very soon. After the harvest, commodities would soon be available but the number of households with little money may not be left with any option by then.

Urgent relief operations all over the country are required

One respondent from Grand Cape County said, ‘’the price has increased. We do not have money. There is a state of emergency here and the government is not allowing travel to Monrovia.’’  It is clear from these stories that people have been badly affected after the outbreak of EVD whether they suffer from this virus or not. This is the reason why relief operations are necessary not just in areas where there is outbreak of EVD but also regions that are largely unaffected by this virus. Areas with food scarcity need to be looked after as poor people in these areas are dying because of hunger and not Ebola.  With markets closing and mobility of the people being restricted by the government, it is essential for relief workers to make available food products in these poor and densely populated areas.

About Sanjay Tandon

Sanjay Tandon is a graduate engineer from IIT Varanasi. He has been writing as a freelancer for many years. He loves to write on various niches. He is passionate about politics and economy and spends his free time watching news channels. He is also an expert on relationships.

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