Yesterday, as I stood on the sidelines of my son’s junior high soccer game, the other moms and I talked about two things: the bad calls the ref was making and Ebola. Each of us had our thoughts, opinions and concerns. Today as I read more about the crisis that’s half-way around in the world in Africa, I realized my personal concerns can’t begin to match the concerns of those who are in the thick of it.
Leaders in Africa aren’t just asking for medical help, they’re now asking for financial aid and global coordination to minimize a food crisis.
In regions like Sierra Leone, according to The Associated Press, 40 percent of the farmers have abandoned their fields because of the virus. In some cases, entire families of farmers have been wiped out from Ebola.
Sierra Leone’s Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security Joseph Sam Sesay said, “We have to understand that agriculture is the mainstay of our economies. If agriculture is down, our economies will be down."
In Liberia, outside investors have pulled billions of dollars from agriculture as “farming has been decimated.”
This crisis will effect the world, in some ways. Sierra Leone, where coffee and cocoa beans are grown, has been especially hard hit. Those two products constitute 90 percent of Africa’s agricultural exports. Prices for those products could rise globally because of the Ebola epidemic.
But, the soccer mom in me isn’t concerned about the price of my coffee going up (and I love my coffee). The soccer mom in me — the human in me — is concerned about the hunger crisis that’s threatening West Africa. I’m concerned about the children who are already parentless because their parents have died from this evil virus. These children will now also face food insecurity. I’m concerned about the parents who will go hungry so they can give what little food they can to their children. I hope that nations around the globe will do what they can, not because they don’t want the price of their coffee and chocolate to go up, but because they want to relieve the suffering of the people.
It certainly puts the bad calls the ref was making at yesterday’s game into perspective.
Related on MNN:
- 5 diseases more worrisome than Ebola
- Mark Zuckerberg donates $25 million to fight Ebola epidemic
- What is Climate-Smart Agriculture?