News in the Humanosphere: New data show economic impact of Ebola on West Africa

World Bank Group President, Jim Yong Kim talks with H. E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia in Monrovia, Liberia on December 2, 2014. © Dominic Chavez/World Bank

A new report by the World Bank shows the huge toll that Ebola is taking on the economies of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The data are striking. “This report updates the World Bank Group’s Oct. 8 analysis of the economic effects of the Ebola crisis on the three hardest-hit countries. GDP growth estimates for 2014 have been revised sharply downward since precrisis estimates to 2.2 percent for Liberia (versus 5.9 percent precrisis and 2.5 percent in October); and 4.0 percent for Sierra Leone (versus 11.3 percent precrisis and 8.0 percent in October); and 0.5 percent for Guinea (versus 4.5 percent precrisis and 2.4 percent in October). All three countries had been growing rapidly in recent years and into the first half of 2014.” (World Bank http://bit.ly/1zNFNNT)

Al Shabaab attacks are posing big political problems for Uhuru Kenyatta Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has replaced his interior minister and police chief following a massacre by Islamist group al-Shabab. The president asked Kenyans to unite, and said, “We will not flinch in war against terrorists.” Kenya’s Police Chief David Kimaiyo stood down, while Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku was dismissed. Earlier, al-Shabab killed 36 quarry workers in the northeastern Mandera region near the Somali border. The group attacked the workers around midnight on Monday while they were asleep in tents at the quarry in Kormey, 9 miles from the town of Mandera. Non-Muslim workers were shot dead after being separated from the Muslims. (BBC http://bbc.in/1zNEDSq)

Stat of the Day: A think tank study released at the U.N. Climate Talks in Lima, Peru, found that more than 530,000 people had died worldwide from 15,000 extreme weather events in the last two decades, including floods, mudslides and droughts, with economic losses of $2.17 trillion. The Philippines, Cambodia and India were the countries hardest hit by extreme weather events in 2013. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1zeIS9U)

Ebola

The World Health Organization says Spain is now Ebola-free as no new cases have surfaced in the required 42-day monitoring period since victim Teresa Romero, a nurse, recovered. (AP http://yhoo.it/1zeHvI8)

Declaring the “fight is nowhere close to being over,” President Obama on Tuesday heralded strides in the effort to confront Ebola in West Africa and in protecting the United States against the spread of the deadly virus. He said squelching the disease remains an urgent priority even if the American public’s attention has shifted elsewhere.

Dr. Komba Songu-M’briwa and just two other doctors, along with 77 nurses, work at a 120-bed treatment center in Sierra Leone. It was the “most difficult, most pitiful” work of his life, the 32-year-old said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press from his isolation room. Even so, he vowed to return to that crucial work if he recovered from Ebola. (AP http://yhoo.it/1zeIh89)

The World Health Organization reports the spread of Ebola is having a damaging impact on the delivery of health services for people suffering from other illnesses in the three severely affected Ebola countries in West Africa. And it says one of the root causes of the rapid spread of Ebola in the region is linked to the weakness in the health systems of the three heavily infected countries. (VOA http://bit.ly/1ydGQof)

Life on the Ebola frontline: ‘Fear is overpowering even the health workers’ (The Guardian http://bit.ly/1wlnMZB)

Africa

The International Monetary Fund has unfrozen its loans to Mali after a review of allegations of financial irregularities and the country will soon receive $11.7 million. (AP http://yhoo.it/1wlgBAB)

Some 1.6 million other Nigerians have abandoned their homes amid attacks by Boko Haram. The massive displacement is creating a humanitarian crisis in Africa’s most populous nation. (AP http://yhoo.it/1wljCRA)

The conflict minerals legislation, signed by President Obama four years ago, set off a chain of events in the DR Congo that has propelled millions of miners and their families deeper into poverty, according to interviews with miners, community leaders, activists, and Congolese and Western officials, as well as recent visits to four large mining areas. (Washington Post http://wapo.st/1wlpp9B)

The outbreak of the deadly Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone has dwarfed the campaign against HIV/AIDS, to the extent that patients no longer go to hospitals and treatment centers out of fear of contracting the Ebola virus. (IPS http://bit.ly/1ydCT2R)

Rapid evolution of the human immunodeficiency virus is slowing its ability to cause AIDS, according to a study of more than 2,000 women in Africa. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1ydDcuJ)

HIV was the third-leading cause of natural deaths in South Africa in 2013, up three places from the previous year, and the second highest killer of young people, a survey by the national statistics agency showed on Tuesday. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1ydDrG6)

Cameroon says it is recruiting 20,000 more defense and security forces to fight Boko Haram following reports that the terrorist group, based in Nigeria, is recruiting young Cameroonians to fight for them. (VOA http://bit.ly/1ydFEkT)

Malawi President Peter Mutharika is under fire for giving envelopes containing $125 to more than 80 media people at a dinner he hosted last month in Blantyre. The editor of the privately owned Times Television said reporters were told the envelopes contained the president’s plans for the media – which has been critical of the government’s economic performance. (VOA http://bit.ly/1ydFLga)

Women make up the vast majority of people living with HIV in South Sudan, and face discrimination on a daily basis if they admit to having the illness, said the chairwoman of the National Empowerment of Positive Women United in South Sudan. (VOA http://bit.ly/1ydG7n7)

MENA

Syrian refugees in Lebanon panicked Tuesday over news that the United Nations suspended food aid to 1.7 million refugees due to lack of funds — a decision officials said threatens to starve thousands of families and add pressure on the already strained countries hosting them. (AP http://yhoo.it/1wliWeO)

The International Organization for Migration reported Tuesday that 2 million Iraqis were displaced this year, with the greatest number of people uprooted are from the province of Ninewa. Anbar province was the second-most affected with more than half a million people uprooted. (VOA http://bit.ly/12ow3Q7)

A group of supporters of Islamic State has released a video that it says shows its members carrying out a shooting in Saudi Arabia last week of a Danish national who survived the attack, SITE Monitoring reported. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1wl5aJp)

The Lebanese army detained a wife and daughter of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as they crossed from Syria nine days ago, security officials said on Tuesday, in a move seen as likely to put pressure on the Islamist chief. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1zezbZ4)

Syria must disclose documents about its chemical weapons program and grant full access to inspectors if it wants to convince world powers it has destroyed its entire toxic stockpile, U.N. Disarmament Chief Angela Kane said on Tuesday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1zeHxzE)

Asia

The three original founders of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy Occupy movement tearfully announced on Tuesday they would “surrender” by turning themselves in to police and urged protesters still on the streets to retreat. (Yahoo http://yhoo.it/1zezN0F)

Japanese authorities are investigating the death of a Sri Lankan man at an immigration detention center in Tokyo, the fourth such case in just over a year, amid criticism the facilities are overcrowded and understaffed. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1wlgzJ3)

Human rights advocacy groups on Tuesday urged the Cambodian government to allow about a dozen ethnic minority hill people from Vietnam hiding in the jungle to be interviewed about their claims for asylum. (AP http://yhoo.it/1zeHPXs)

A report into the death of a Myanmar journalist while in military custody is inadequate and the country’s president must now order an independent investigation, his family’s lawyer said on Tuesday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1zeI0lr)

The South African doctor whose family was killed in a Taliban attack in Kabul is still working at an Afghanistan hospital. (AP http://yhoo.it/1zeIc4a)

Beijing and other Chinese cities have been phasing out coal burning in an attempt to rein in clouds of toxic smog. With much of Beijing’s pollution originating from surrounding provinces, Zhao Wei, who works at a coal distributor in Tang County, said it is only a matter of time before those same coal controls hit families here who depend on what remains the cheapest form of heat and energy available. (AP http://yhoo.it/1wljVff)

The Americas

With 2014 on track to become the warmest year on record and time running short, more than 190 nations began talks in Lima, Peru, on a new worldwide deal to limit greenhouse gas emissions and keep global warming from causing irreversible damage. (AP http://yhoo.it/1wl4P9l)

Bruce Springsteen and Coldplay’s Chris Martin tried to replace Bono’s legendary vocal cords in a surprise U2 concert in New York to rally support for fighting AIDS. (AP http://yhoo.it/1wl5yYj)

A peaceful rally over the presumed massacre of 43 Mexican students ended with violence in the capital Monday, and the president’s popularity sank to new lows on his second anniversary. (AFP http://bit.ly/1zeKYXj)

Opinion/Blogs

The futility of development policy (Marc Bellemare http://bit.ly/1ydQJ5w)

Voluntourists needed: Apply within (NY Times http://nyti.ms/1yES3Rn)

Harsh laws continue to undermine the fight against HIV worldwide (Humanosphere http://bit.ly/1ydQLub)

Meet the South African comedian about to join The Daily Show (GlobalPost http://bit.ly/1wleooS)

Why aren’t forests more prominent on the agenda for COP20 climate talks in Lima? (CGD http://bit.ly/1zeL5C6)

Cash transfers: Good for people, bad for the community? (IRIN http://bit.ly/1wlmr54)

To eliminate poverty, we need to reduce inequality (Mind the Gap http://bit.ly/12oFbEm)

Media distortion and western bias – why do some disasters attract more cash? (The Guardian http://bit.ly/1wlmRbC)

A year in the life: Australia’s integrated aid administration (Devpolicy Blog http://bit.ly/12oFcYV)

13 thoughts on start-ups and social impact (Wait… What? http://bit.ly/1ydQIOY)

Climate justice is the only way to solve our climate crisis (IPS http://bit.ly/1ydrfFb)

Research/Reports

HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, frequently mutates. That has allowed the virus to bypass the immune system and infect about 80 million people over the last 35 years. However, researchers say the rapid evolution of HIV actually may be reducing its ability to cause AIDS. (VOA http://bit.ly/1ydI0A5)

The full scale of corruption involving multinational companies has been revealed by the west’s leading think tank in a study that found most bribes were paid in developed countries and with the full knowledge of senior management. The OECD said its examination of 400 deals over the past 15 years had shown the average bribe was worth almost $14 million – typically 11 percent of the value of the transaction. (Guardian http://bit.ly/12owUjK)

In the more than two decades since world leaders first got together to try to solve global warming, life on Earth has changed, not just the climate. It’s gotten hotter, more polluted with heat-trapping gases, more crowded and just downright wilder. (VOA http://yhoo.it/12oxkqo)

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About Author

Tom Murphy

Tom Murphy is a New Hampshire-based reporter for Humanosphere. Before joining Humanosphere, Tom founded and edited the aid blog A View From the Cave. His work has appeared in Foreign Policy, the Huffington Post, the Guardian, GlobalPost and Christian Science Monitor. He tweets at @viewfromthecave. Contact him at tmurphy[at]humanosphere.org.

  • Kevin Worldsavior

    The only way on Earth to curb Ebola is my discovery – Eradication of Ebola and guaranteeing Economic Growth is not a problem at all – Ebola and any other viruses like AIDS, Colds, Flues, Malaria, Dengue, SARS, TB, etc. can be killed the moment they touch us, once everybody (kids and adults) start doing the WVD – The Weapon of Virus Destruction – Just an exercise for a minute a day – The most powerful and lethal response to Ebola virus on Earth – Any viruses are killed the moment they touch us – I will disclose my WVD to everyone, if the world pays me 5 billion EURO – Then the Ebola virus crisis will be terminated in just a few days and everybody will be protected 100% from any viruses, bio-weapons (like Ebola, AIDS, Bubonic Plague, etc.), any cancers, diabetes and strokes all the time, all life long – I myself am the healthiest person on the planet – I cannot get sick of any diseases, known on Earth, even for a second.