The UN World Food Programme (WFP) says it needs US $ 70 million for the emergency response to the Ebola virus outbreak. WFP is distributing food in West African countries impacted by the spread of the deadly virus.
The UN food agency is also providing logistical support to the World Health Organization and other groups fighting the outbreak. WFP aircraft transports humanitarian personnel and equipment in the region. In addition, WFP manages UN depots which store gloves, health kits and protective gear for those coming into close contact with the virus.
WFP's plan is to feed 1.3 million people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Denise Brown, WFP Regional Director for West Africa, says,
We are multiplying our efforts to bring food assistance to all people in need and to provide logistical support to sister agencies and non-governmental organizations working to contain the virus and meet the basic needs of affected people...Containing the virus requires a comprehensive care package including food assistance"
Frances Kennedy, a WFP spokesperson in Liberia, describes the terror facing communities living under the constant threat of Ebola. Kennedy reports, "Since the Liberian authorities cordoned off the West Point neighbourhood of Monrovia, in a bid to halt the spread of the Ebola virus, residents from the densely-populated shantytown are effectively trapped, with police and soldiers guarding the entry points."
The people are depending on WFP food aid deliveries. According to WFP's Maurice Fahnbulleh, when food distributions take place in these slums, residents are urged to stand at least four feet apart to limit the chance of spreading the virus.
The Ebola virus has claimed well over a thousand lives. The countries where the virus is spreading are also suffering with hunger and poverty. The food and nutrition from WFP is vital to strengthen resistance against the disease.
WFP relies entirely on voluntary donation from governments and the public. A donation page for the Ebola response has been set up at the WFP web site.