Restrictions worsening Ebola crisis: Aid worker

Closed borders and travel bans in Ebola-hit countries were exacerbating food shortages and leading to preventable deaths, according to a Red Cross aid worker in Sierra Leone, Bloomberg reported.

Amanda McClelland, an aid worker in Sierra Leone, told The World Today that food, fuel and restrictions were pushing up prices of food, fuel and basic supplies and frustrating aid efforts.

Ms McClelland said hospital closures also meant people dying from other diseases.

She said while this was happening no one was going to the clinic, or the hospital for normal procedures, for malaria, for pneumonia and there were more and more reports of those patients also dying in the communities as they could not access normal health care, so this went well beyond those 1,300 Ebola deaths.

The Ebola outbreak in West African had so far taken a toll of 1,350 lives.

However, the outbreak, had seen 50 per cent of people overcome the disease with basic treatment, including continuous re-hydration and nutrition.

Meanwhile, commodity companies were slowing production and airlines were shutting routes, Independent Online reported. In Liberia, the government said the economic impact threatened to derail progress made since the end of the civil war in 2003.

Production had slowed at Sime Darby, the world's largest palm oil producer, while Sifca had halted rubber output from its plant there. The biggest steel maker in the world, ArcelorMittal had postponed expansion plans at its iron ore mine in northern Liberia as contractors moved some workers out of the country. London Mining and African Minerals, operating in Sierra Leone, had seen their shares fall.

According to Richard Evans, a spokesman for UK-based construction company Dawnus, this was the first time he had heard of anyone not being paid. He added, that a ''large number'' of non-essential staff had been asked not to come to work while getting basic pay.

Nigerian cement magnate Aliko Dangote had pulled a number of employees out of his Liberian cement plant and said 1 percentage point might get shaved off the economic growth rate of the region that included Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

Dangote said earlier this month that it would be a great impact, however various governments were doing things to tackle the situation.