U.N. to feed up to one million people hit by Ebola

The World Food Program is bringing in its own aircraft to make sure food gets through to quarantined areas

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The U.N. is to fly in food aid for up to a million people affected by the Ebola outbreak wreaking havoc in west Africa, the World Food Program (WFP) said on Friday.

With states of emergency and severe restrictions on movement imposed in the three worst-hit countries, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the U.N. agency is bringing in its own aircraft to make sure food gets through to quarantined areas.

“At the request of the WHO (World Health Organization) and the governments concerned, we are putting in place assistance for around one million people” in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, WFP spokeswoman for West Africa Fabienne Pompey said.

“The restrictions on movement in the most affected areas threatens food security,” she told Agence France-Presse.

“Commerce is affected, people cannot get to their fields, and prices rise at the markets so the poorest have trouble feeding themselves,” Pompey explained.

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 bush meat.

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

Pompey said two helicopters will also be brought in to deliver aid to the most isolated areas.

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