Liberia + 4 more

ACAPS Briefing Note: Ebola in West Africa - Impact on Protection and Security (14 October 2014)

Originally published


This publication is in two parts: it begins with the impact of the Ebola outbreak on Protection and then provides an update on the progress of the epidemic since the previous briefing note, published on 25 September.

Crisis Overview

  • UN and national officials are warning of the serious threat Ebola is posing to the safety of the countries. In a statement to the UN Security Council on 9 September, the Liberia’s Defence Minister warned its national existence was "seriously threatened" by the Ebola virus.
  • The Governments’ poor management of the epidemic has generated deep frustration among the three countries’ societies, and the security situation, particularly in Liberia, is gradually deteriorating. The Ebola crisis has exposed citizens’ lack of trust in their governments and exacerbated social tensions, increasing the possibility of profound unrest in these fragile countries. The lack of a prompt, robust, and efficient response from the international community contributes to the mistrust.
  • Children and women have been deeply affected by the EVD outbreak. Children related to people with EVD have been abandoned. Children are extremely vulnerable and in critical situations in the three most-affected countries due to the loss of a parent.

Key Findings

Anticipated scope and scale
- Deteriorating law and order in the three countries causing growing insecurity, especially in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
- Incidents against humanitarian workers have increased.
- Children are extremely vulnerable, suffering from stigma and ostracisation.
- Movement restrictions impacting livelihoods, trade, and food security.

Priorities for humanitarian intervention
- Massive assistance is urgently needed to address the humanitarian consequences of the epidemic, especially the disruption of all healthcare services.
- At least 3,700 children in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have lost one or both parents to Ebola since the start of the outbreak in West Africa and many are being rejected by their surviving relatives for fear of infection.

Humanitarian constraints and response gaps
- Movement restrictions are hampering humanitarian access.
- Threats, attacks and security issues are increasing as fear and mistrust among the populations are growing.
- Health workers are at greater risk because of the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) to treat actual and suspected Ebola patients