After re-opening in March 2015, all schools in Liberia are required to set up a body temperature check for all students and visitors.
Photo: K. Hiromi/Polaris/laif

15.06.2015

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Not only has the Ebola epidemic cost many people’s lives. It also bears far-reaching consequences for the economies of the countries affected. Around a quarter more of the people are now affected by food insecurity than before the epidemic. This above all applies to the rural population, as the following evaluation of the situation shows.

Three West African countries, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea (the so-called Mano River Region) have been hard hit by the outbreak of the human disease of Ebola, at the top of the agenda since July 2014. The losses of lives, the suffering of the people who came under quarantine, and the grief and crisis for the dependent family members are just one aspect of the emergency. The other aspect is its economic impact on the societies already under extreme stress. Everyone in these countries was affected by the shocks of a war-like situation. The main repercussion derives from aversion behaviour driven by a fear of contagion. These behavioural effects impact factor and commodity markets, labour input and production, and people’s livelihoods, and they have retarded economic growth.

All three West African nations are already poor, and they belong to the ten countries of the world with the lowest Human Development Index (HDI) (see Table below, in line 8).

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