...EU chief warns
OCTOBER 28, 2014 By Mohamed Massaquoi
Managing Director for Crisis Response in the European Union has disclosed in Freetown that Sierra Leone may be hit by hunger and malnutrition after the deadly Ebola virus would have been defeated, urging organizations helping in the fight against the epidemic not to only focus on eradicating the virus but to also prepare for social and economic issues.
Agostino Miozzo, who was speaking during a press conference at the plush Radisson Blu Hotel, west of Freetown, underscored that the Ebola outbreak has immensely affected the agriculture sector as farmers now rely on food supplies which are not sustainable.
Miozzo isvisiting Sierra Leone with a high-power delegation, including military officers, staff of the European Union and the Crisis Management Department to hold meetings with stakeholders and assess the current Ebola situation and the social impact on communities.
“We are very pleased to come to Sierra Leone and to get firsthand information on the Ebola situation. We have held meetings with the President, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Finance, and the Minister of Health as well as the Chief Executive Officer of the National Ebola Response Centre,” he told journalists. “The issue that clearly came out of our discussions is about hunger after Ebola. We noticed that a good number of farmers are now eating seeds meant for the next planting season. This is very important to know because hunger is very dreadful.”
He added that the assessment would be followed up by discussions with Member States of the European Union and partners to assess the situation in view of further assistance to Sierra Leone.
“The European Union is committed to play an active role in enhancing the international response. It will do everything in its power to help contain the epidemic, address the most urgent needs and provide immediate healthcare so that the country can rapidly transit to a normal development path in line with the ‘Agenda of Prosperity’ once the Ebola crisis is over,” the envoy stated.
The European Union and Member States have already committed over half a billion Euros to provide urgent medical care to those infected by the virus, to help contain the epidemic and to support governments of affected countries mitigate the effects of the outbreak on their economies and essential services.