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UN to feed up to one million people hit by Ebola

The United Nations is to step up food aid to reach up to a million people affected by the Ebola outbreak wreaking havoc in west Africa, the World Food Programme (WFP) said on Friday (Aug 15).

DAKAR: The United Nations is to step up food aid to reach up to a million people affected by the Ebola outbreak wreaking havoc in west Africa, the World Food Programme (WFP) said on Friday (Aug 15).

With states of emergency and severe restrictions on movement imposed in the three worst-hit countries, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the UN agency is bringing in its own aircraft to transport its personnel.

"The restrictions on movement in the most affected areas threatens food security," WFP spokeswoman Fabienne Pompey said. "Commerce is affected, people cannot get to their fields, and prices rise at the markets so the poorest have trouble feeding themselves."

The WFP is already feeding several thousand people in the worst affected areas, including the families of victims who have been quarantined, orphans and old people and hunters hit by the ban on the sale of bushmeat.

With several commercial carriers suspending flights to the region because of the epidemic, she said the agency is starting up a special line on Saturday with an aircraft based in the Guinean capital Conakry to link the capitals of the three countries.

She said two helicopters will also be brought in to help staff reach the most isolated areas.

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