An Ebola Virus Treatment Center In Monrovia
A man stands at the gate of an Ebola virus treatment center in Monrovia September 21, 2014. Reuters

After the pain and panic from the deadly disease, Ebola hit West African nations are waiting to be haunted by the spectre of food shortage and hunger as access to food is getting limited. This is happening because of the severe damage to agricultural production systems caused by border closures, quarantines and crop losses after the outbreak of Ebola in these communities.

According to a joint statement by two UN Food agencies--UN Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Food Programme, the unfolding scenario may push one million people into acute poverty. The deadly Ebola fever killed 6,800 people in the worst-hit nations of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, reported AFP.

Food Shortage

According to the estimates of UN Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Food Programme, the Ebola disease and the curbs that followed have "inflicted a significant shock to the food and agriculture sectors in the affected countries". There was severe loss of productivity and reduction in household income, due to hundreds of Ebola-related deaths. The illness as well deprivation made most people to stay away from work fearing the contagion. These factors have now compounded to make an economic slowdown in the three countries. The restrictions enforced to curb the spread of the disease also hindered people's access to food, and are still threatening their livelihoods and disrupting food markets besides exacerbating shortages from crop losses.

Already, half a million people are facing the danger of going hungry. This figure could touch one million by March 2015 unless access to food is drastically enhanced and measures are put in place to safeguard crop and livestock production, the agencies warned. "The outbreak of Ebola in West Africa has been a wake-up call for the world," said WFP Emergency Response Coordinator Denise Brown in Dakar. The two agencies said the Ebola virus left a terrible impact on the three worst-hit countries and continues to affect people's access to food. A report by New York Times said, the crisis has already left 230,000 people in Guinea, 170,000 in Liberia and 120,000 in Sierra Leone severely food insecure.

Crops Hit

In Sierra Leone, 40 percent of local farms were abandoned during the break out. In some places, communities are facing food shortages because of poor road accessibility, while a section of others are suffering because of quarantine orders that hamper the search for food supplies, reported Al Jazeera. The report cited the case of Senegal where food shortages have worsened after regional trade got disrupted due to border closures and quarantine measures. Frequent border closures and reduction of trade through seaports choked the food supplies in the entire region. This has happened because most of the West African states are cereal importers. For them trade and transportation disruptions are really devastating.