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News in the Humanosphere: Ebola outbreak cuts into West African economic growth


The Crushing Economic Impact of Ebola…At this point most airlines have suspended flights to Ebola affected countries, despite the WHO’s insistence that such measures are unnecessary and counter-productive. Many economic development projects are on hold. “Ebola is causing enormous damage to West African economies, draining budgetary resources and slashing economic growth by up to 4 percent as foreign businessmen leave and projects are cancelled, the African Development Bank president said. As transport companies suspend services, cutting off the region, governments and economists have warned that the worst outbreak of the hemorrhagic Ebola fever on record could crush the fragile economic gains made in Sierra Leone and Liberia following a decade of civil war in the 1990s.” (Reuters)

Nearly 2,000 people fleeing Africa and the Middle East have drowned in the Mediterranean this year… Libya’s worsening security situation “has fostered the growth of people-smuggling operations, but also prompted refugees and migrants living there to decide to risk the sea rather than stay in a conflict zone,” the UNHCR said. The UNHCR death toll includes more than 300 people who died in three separate incidents since Aug. 22 when boats capsized off the Libyan coast. A total of 124,380 boat people – largely fleeing war, violence and persecution, the agency says – have landed in Europe since January, many after being rescued by an Italian navy and coast guard operation.” (Reuters)

A third top doctor has died from Ebola in Sierra Leone, a government official said Wednesday. (AP)

A young man on camera names the person who’s challenged him to dump the contents of a bucket over his head. But in a twist on the ice bucket challenge, this man is soon drenched in frothy, soapy water — part of a campaign to raise awareness about Ebola prevention in West Africa. (AP )

The French government on Wednesday recommended its nationals avoid Sierra Leone and Liberia due to the risk associated with the Ebola virus and asked Air France-KLM to suspend flights to the Sierra Leone capital, Freetown. (Reuters)

An employee of the WHO who contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone will be flown to the German city of Hamburg for treatment, a spokesman for the city said. (Reuters)

Ebola has a nasty reputation for damaging the body, especially its blood vessels. But when you look at the nitty-gritty details of what happens after a person is infected, a surprising fact surfaces. (NPR )

The United Nations on Wednesday allocated $1.5 million to help the Democratic Republic of Congo fight Ebola, just days after the country confirmed its first cases this year.

A young woman was shot dead in Namibia on Wednesday in clashes between police and the children of fallen independence fighters, a rare incidence of political violence in the country.

Police killed three people trying to steal a truck near a United Nations complex and the nearby US embassy in Nairobi on Wednesday, police said, but staff at both sites said they were continuing with normal business. (Reuters)

Budget cuts and bureaucracy have been blamed for blood shortages which have claimed several lives in Burundi and led to calls for an overhaul of the transfusion system. (IRIN)

Uganda’s president recently signed the HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Act into law, criminalizing the transmission of HIV and enforcing mandatory testing. Such provisions have upset activists who want to de-stigmatize Uganda’s HIV-positive community. (VOA)

Kenyans living with HIV or AIDS in Kibera, Nairobi’s largest slum, are finding support groups essential to coping with the health, economic and social challenges they face. (VOA)

The UN Security Council on Wednesday asked African countries of the troubled Sahel region to set up regional patrols to better protect their borders from organized crime and terror groups.

For the first time since 2007, a humanitarian convoy of the UN World Food Programme successfully crossed from Egypt into the Gaza Strip today, carrying enough food to feed around 150,000 people for five days.

WFP said that a convoy of supplies had reached 2,000 desperate families, crammed into the Iraqi city of Karbala after fleeing jihadist attacks.

A comeback by Libya’s oil industry may be short-lived as a confrontation between armed groups risks splitting the country three years after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi. (Reuters)

Only a few months ago, the threat from MERS in large parts of the Gulf region appeared to be growing. Dozens of new cases were being reported every month and a key panel set up by the WHO advised that the “situation had increased in terms of its seriousness and urgency.” (IRIN)

The United Nations Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution tightening the Libya arms embargo, and calling for an end to the violence in that country. (VOA)

Relief workers and aid agencies in Nepal are worried about the security, protection and psychological health of women and children in post-disaster settings. (IPS)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will promise on Thursday to provide a bank account for every Indian household when he launches a major initiative that could save billions of dollars in welfare spending and help mend strained state finances. (VOA)

India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising – more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. (VOA)

Flooding over the past two weeks in Bangladesh has affected more than 800,000 people.

The Americas
More than 56 million people were lifted out of poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean between 2000 and 2012, according to a UN report. (BBC)

A new survey about preferences and trends in Mexico concludes that one out of every three Mexicans would migrate to the United States if given the opportunity. (CNN)

In Guatemala, behind barred and locked doors, thousands of drug addicts are offered treatment by Protestant churches. Christianity offers salvation for some but many are held against their will, and some are swept off the street by “hunting” parties. (BBC)

Why I’m not doing the #icebucketchallenge or donating for ALS (Humanosphere)

A great country doesn’t deport vulnerable minors (CNN)

IGAD’s Missed Opportunity for Action on South Sudan (Think Africa Press)

Why saying ‘seven out of ten fastest growing economies are in Africa’ carries no real meaning (African Arguments)

Which development studies books should students read? (Guardian)

Pope Francis has done little to improve women’s lives (Guardia)

Towards a Global Governance Information Clearing House (IPS )

Is There Any Way to Break the Doha Round Impasse in Agriculture Negotiations? (The Trade Beat)

Building a Sustainable Future: The Compact Between Business and Society (IPS)

12 Principles for Payment by Results (PbR) in the Real World (CGD)

New roads long enough to girdle the Earth 600 times are expected to be built by 2050 and better planning is needed to protect the environment while also raising food production, a study showed. (Reuters)

Civil society groups from several continents are stepping up a campaign urging the World Bank to strengthen a series of changes currently being made to a major annual report on countries’ business-friendliness. (IPS)

Rampant trash-burning is throwing more pollution and toxic particles into the air than governments are reporting, according to a scientific study estimating more than 40 percent of the world’s garbage is burned. (AP)

Iran and the P5+1: Getting to “Yes” (Crisis Group)

New report outlines potential use of drones in humanitarian response (OCHA)


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]