ECOWAS chair assesses Ebola-stricken region
from MASAHUDU KUNATEH in Accra, Ghana
ACCRA – THE Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States, John Mahama, was on Monday scheduled to visit the countries worst affected by the Ebola virus to assess the impact.
Mahama, who is also the Ghanaian President, would visit Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
The one-day visit will enable the ECOWAS Chair hold discussions with his colleague heads of state on available sub-regional and international interventions to support the countries in their effort to contain and manage the Ebola outbreak.
With some countries and airlines discontinuing flights into the three countries, Mahama has been leading a strong advocacy against any international isolation of the affected countries, as it would make relief and humanitarian assistance to infected persons difficult.
Mahama has already decided to work with the United Nations to set up an international logistics centre in Accra to serve as the main hub for the fight against Ebola in the West African sub region.
Meanwhile, Mahama will, on behalf of the Government and people of Ghana, donate quantities of various “Made in Ghana” products to each country during the visit.
Meanwhile, the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) warned that disruptions in food trade and marketing in the three West African countries most affected by Ebola have made food increasingly expensive and hard to come by, while labor shortages are putting the upcoming harvest season at serious risk.
Likewise, production of cash crops like palm oil, cocoa and rubber – on which the livelihoods and food purchasing power of many families depend – is expected to be seriously affected.
“Access to food has become a pressing concern for many people in the three affected countries and their neighbors,” said Bukar Tijani, FAO Regional Representative for Africa.
“With the main harvest now at risk and trade and movements of goods severely restricted, food insecurity is poised to intensify in the weeks and months to come. The situation will have long-lasting impacts on farmers’ livelihoods and rural economies,” he added.
– CAJ News
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