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I DOFF MY HAT TO WFP!

One of the challenges the Government is facing in the fight against the outbreak of the Ebola Viral Disease (EVD) is the provision of food for Ebola victims, people in quarantined homes and other suffering masses across the country. While the outbreak of the epidemic has prevented millions of able-bodied men and women in the agriculturally viable areas in the country from farming, their earnings have dropped drastically. Economic activities are slowing down and the socio-economic impact of the outbreak of the epidemic on the people and the country’s economy is devastating.

A recent survey by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) revealed that there would be shortage of food in Sierra Leone by the end of the year unless the EVD is contained within the shortage possible time. Some of the reasons, according to the UN Agency, include the quarantining of people in Ebola affected areas like Kailahun and Kenema Districts, who can no longer farm; the restriction of people’s movement and loss of jobs by thousands of people whose employers have either scaled down their operations or temporarily closed down businesses until the Ebola fight is over.

Be that as it may, Government needs the help of the world community, international and local organizations, and individuals to meet the challenge of providing food for Ebola victims, people in quarantined homes and impoverished Sierra Leoneans whose penury-stricken conditions have been exacerbated by the outbreak of the EVD. That is why I should commend all those who have in diverse ways provided food for the aforementioned Sierra Leoneans who are in dire need of food than ever before.

A particular UN Agency that should be singled out for praise in terms of providing emergency food assistance to people affected by natural and man-made disease, such as the outbreak of Ebola is the World Food Programme (WFP). The UN Agency has been very instrumental in providing affected people with food right across the country, such as its recent distribution of rice to more than 2,600 people at Waterloo, which has been identified as one of the hottest spots for the Ebola outbreak in the country.

Though the WFP has taken the lead in feeding Ebola victims and vulnerable Sierra Leoneans, we should also extend our gratitude and appreciation to other organizations for their generous dispositions in providing quarantined homes and vulnerable people with food and other essential items necessary in the Ebola fight. The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sierra Leone (ELCSL) and Africell are among the organizations that have provided quarantined homes and vulnerable people with food, while the former Sierra Leone People’s Party presidential candidate for the November 2012 multitier elections, Brig. (Rtd.) Julius Maada Bio, who donated 500 bags of rice, and Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkellah, who donated 1,275 bags of rice, are among generous Sierra Leoneans who supported Government’s efforts to meet the challenge of providing food for quarantined homes and vulnerable people.

It is against the backdrop of the appalling socio-economic condition in the country, coupled with high cost of living and Government’s inability to do it alone that I am appealing to the WFP, other international and local organizations as well as well-meaning Sierra Leoneans to continue supporting Government’s efforts to fight against the outbreak of the EVD. For organizations and affluent Sierra Leoneans who are yet to support Government’s efforts towards the Ebola fight, I will also appeal to them to please emulate the good examples of those who are supporting Government’s efforts to contain the epidemic in the country within the shortest possible time. In all of this, I doff my hat to the WFP for taking the lead in feeding quarantined homes and vulnerable people who could hardly provided for themselves because of poverty coupled with the number of restrictions clammed on the citizenry as measures for stemming the epidemic.         

     

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