DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — Thousands of people in Sierra Leone are being forced to violate Ebola quarantines to find food because deliveries are not reaching them, aid agencies said.
Large swaths of the West African country have been sealed off to prevent the spread of Ebola, and within those areas many people have been ordered to stay in their homes.
The government, with help from the U.N.’s World Food Program, is tasked with delivering food and other services to those people. But there are many “nooks and crannies” in the country that are being missed, Jeanne Kamara, Christian Aid’s Sierra Leone representative, said Tuesday.
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed nearly 5,000 people, and authorities have gone to extreme lengths to bring it under control, including the quarantines in Sierra Leone. Similar restrictions have also been used in Liberia and Guinea, the two other countries hardest hit by the epidemic.
Some efforts have begun to show progress. The situation is Guinea is improving, as is the quality of care for Ebola patients, thanks to international aid, said Aboubakar Sidiki Diakite, an official with the country’s Health Ministry, who was visiting Paris on Tuesday.
But more treatment centers and medical teams are still needed, the World Health Organization said at a news conference in Geneva on Tuesday. There are currently 16 treatment centers up and running and 58 more planned. To staff those centers, 500 foreign health care workers and 4,000 national ones are still needed.