20 May 2015

The orphans of Ebola

Orphans who survived Ebola in Sierra Leone are starving to death amid harvest shortages and some are being forced into the sex industry to pay for food. Researchers from British charity Street Child warn the situation will deteriorate if seeds are not distributed before the rains begin this month and planting becomes possible.


The charity, which has already received distressing reports of children dying due to a lack of food in rural parts on the country, has estimated there to be 12,000 orphans, many of whom are now forced to look after themselves. The charity has found that some children, rejected by their friends because of the stigma of Ebola, have tried to commit suicide, while girls are being forced into the sex industry to earn money to buy food.

Research team leader John Pryor said: 'Many rural communities which were under quarantine due to Ebola have lost their harvests and the people are truly suffering. 'As a result they have nothing to plant prior to the rainy season, which is traditionally known as the hunger season. 'The most vulnerable, including many Ebola orphans, are dangerously hungry already, before it has even begun. Add to this the risk of no harvest to look forward to and the potential consequences are awful.' Without a harvest, the most vulnerable will starve.

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