Speed Reads

Ebola

Fear of starvation is adding a new wrinkle to the Ebola fight

A possible impending famine is further complicating the fight against the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Some patients are apparently leaving West Africa's Ebola quarantine zones because they don't have enough basic food supplies.

The Independent reports that as many as 750,000 people could be at risk of famine and death from malnutrition. Ebola has left Sierra Leone's farms unattended and caused problems for food supply chains, as well as higher food prices in quarantined areas. Empty farms may lead to "an unprecedented modern famine" in Sierra Leone and Liberia, unless "urgent action" is taken, The Independent notes.

Starvation is especially an issue for the approximate 4,000 orphans of Ebola — The Independent reports a tale of two children orphaned by the disease who died of starvation, not Ebola. The U.N. World Food Program estimated that it provided food for more than half a million people in the three countries most affected by Ebola, and it hopes to feed 600,000 more people before the end of the month.

If Ebola continues on its current path and creates 10,000 new Ebola cases a week, there could be thousands more orphans without access to food.