UK & World News

  • 2 September 2014, 18:24

Ebola Patient Flees Clinic In Search For Food

Video has emerged of Liberian ebola clinic workers dressed in contamination suits chasing an escaped patient through the streets after he left a treatment centre to visit a market.

There were chaotic scenes as crowds followed infected man, who was wearing a wristband to show he had tested positive for the disease, and some stallholdersargued with him as he approached.

The patient escaped from Monrovia's Elwahospital, which last month was so crowded with cases of the deadly disease that it had to turn people away.

One woman at the scene said: "The patients are hungry, they are starving. No food, no water.

"The government needs to do more. Let Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf [the President of Liberia] do more."

Onlookers cheered as health workers arrived in their protective outfits and try to convince the patient to give himself up.

The man, who shows no outward signs of the diarrhoea and bleeding that the virus causes, refuses to return with the health workers and they eventually grab him and carry him away to a waiting ambulance.

At least 1,552 people have been killed by the currentebolaoutbreak, with 3,062 patients infected overall, according to the latest figures from the World HealthOrganization.

The UN agency has warned that more than 20,000 people could be infected withebolabefore the outbreak comes to an end.

There has been widespread panic buying, a shortage of staple foods and severe prices in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia since movement restrictions were imposed to stop the spread of the virus.

At one market stall in Liberia, a nation which has suffered 694 fatalities so far, the price of cassava skyrocketed by 150% in a matter of days.

And despite the UN's World Food Programme launching an emergency operation to get 65,000 tonnes of supplies sent to deprived areas, many patients in quarantined areas are starving.

To compound the problem, labour shortages are expected in all three West African countries, weeks before the main harvesting season for maize and rice begins.

The production of other crops such as rubber, palm oil and cocoa could also be seriously affected, sending thousands of vulnerable people further into poverty.

Vincent Martin of the FAO added: "Even prior to the ebola outbreak, households in some of the affected areas were spending up to 80% of their incomes on food.

"Now these latest price spikes are effectively putting food completely out of their reach."

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