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African Development Bank Supports Sierra Leone Ebola Response

FREETOWN - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomed a US$1 million grant from the African Development Bank (ADB) to help fight Ebola in Sierra Leone. The contribution will be used to support the Government of Sierra Leone and WFP in meeting the essential food and nutrition needs of vulnerable people and communities affected by Ebola.

With this grant, WFP will provide food assistance for two months to 30,000 people. In some areas worst-affected by the disease, WFP will introduce cash transfers, where those in need are provided with money to buy their own food locally, so that the benefits spread beyond the person receiving assistance to the wider community. This approach will contribute to improving food consumption among vulnerable families as well as stimulating the local economy in targeted regions.

“We will use the African Develpment Bank funding with care and diligence to provide greatly needed nutritious food to patients and family members affected by this unprecedented health crisis,” said Gon Myers, WFP Representative and Country Director in Sierra Leone. “We are very appreciative of this support that will help us work towards ensuring nobody goes hungry and no child malnourished because of Ebola.”

A joint report by WFP and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization released in mid-December warned that by March 2015, 280,000 people in Sierra Leone will be severely food insecure due to the negative impact of Ebola on agricultural production and market activities.  Total food production in Sierra Leone for 2014 is estimated to be 5 percent lower than in 2013. Rice production is expected to dip by as much as 17 per cent in Kailahun, which is usually one of the country's most productive agricultural areas but has been heavily affected by Ebola.

Since the outbreak of the disease, WFP has provided food and logistical assistance to support the medical response to stop the spread of Ebola. Over 11,700 metric tons of food have been distributed to more than 1.1 million people in Sierra Leone. Through WFP assistance, specialized nutrient-rich meals are provided to people receiving medical care.  Take-home packages are provided to survivors of the disease to ensure continued nutrition support during recovery. WFP also provides food to villages and communities in quarantine or isolation.

WFP programmes are coordinated and implemented with the full involvement of health and  government authorities, NGO partners, and community and traditional leaders to avoid large gatherings and mitigate risk of contamination during food distributions.
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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. In 2013, WFP assisted more than 80 million people in 75 countries.

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For more information please contact (email address:
Djaounsede Pardon, WFP/Freetown, Mob. +232 79859690
Anna Soper, WFP/Freetown, Mob. +232 446 06079
Zoie Jones, WFP/Rome, Mob. + 39 342 902 5566