Liberia: Huge socio-economic cost of Ebola outbreak revealed

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Almost half of workforce no longer working, says World Bank.

The Ebola Virus Disease

A survey conducted by the World Bank has found that almost half of the Liberian workforce has had to stop working due to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Publishing its findings this week, the World Bank says that the impact to the Liberian economy from the Ebola outbreak has been “substantial”, with 46 percent of those working at the start of the crisis no longer working.

The Ebola outbreak was expected to cost the region about $3-4bn (£1.9-2.5bn), a World Bank economist told the BBC.

Self-employed workers have seen the biggest reduction in their ability to work, believed to be a direct consequence of the closure of many of the markets in which they operate. However, the illness itself is not directly stopping people from working, with many government offices and other places of employment closed. Of the respondents questioned by the World Bank, only a small number were unable to work because they personally were ill.

Liberia has had nearly 7,000 cases of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) and more than 2,500 deaths. Many of the cases have occurred in the poorest and most densely populated areas of the capital city, Monrovia, but all counties have now been affected by EVD.

The crisis, says the Bank, has also exacerbated pre-existing problems related to food prices and security. With the cost of importing food rising, many families are reducing their meal intake, and 90% of respondents are worried about having enough to eat.

“It is essential to focus relief efforts not only in areas where the virus is active, which is crucial, but also in those remote counties where the population was already quite poor, food availability was scarce and is now worsening, markets are closed, and mobility is extremely limited,” says the Bank.

Find out more in the Africa Research Bulletin

Ebola Crisis: WHO Situation Report
Political, Social and Cultural Series
Volume 51, Issue 10

Ebola Crisis: Worsening Economic Impact
Economic, Financial and Technical Series
Volume 51, Issue 9

West Africa – Ebola Virus Outbreak
Political, Social and Cultural Series
Volume 51, Issue 9

Ebola: The economic impact

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