EVD Outbreak, its effect to the environment

Sep 18, 2015

The new report investigates seven outbreaks where the Ebola virus was transmitted from its wild reservoir, suspected to be bats, to a human

The Environmental Research Management Foundation, Environmental Foundation for Africa in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) have launched a six-month intensive research report titled "Ebola Virus Disease and Forest Fragmentation in Africa".

A recent research done by the Environmental Foundation for Africa and the ERM Foundation shows that forest fragmentation increases the risk of animal to human transmission of the Ebola virus and other diseases.

According to the report, continuous crumbling of forest in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone contributed immensely to the spread of the virus from animals to humans in the region on grounds that when the forest are crumbled, there are 75% chance of animals and humans interaction.

At an official launch in Monrovia,Tommy Garnett, Director of the Environmental Foundation for Africa said his organization has been working in the environmental sector in Africa for the past years creating awareness on environmental problems  that  are  confronting  the day to  day activities  of   the world especially West Africa.

According  to him,  they have been working with development actors in  Africa indicating  that they were able  to understand  how various development activities have  contributed to either improving  the environment or undermining  it .

He stressed that there is a need for every agency to have a strong environmental protection component to ensure that the lives of citizens are not endangered whenever a development is being implemented.

“If there was a strong environmental protection component at most of the ministries, most of the factories would not have been where they are situated because some of the chemical they used, affect the health of the people”.  Garnett said.

The Ebola Virus Disease and Forest Fragmentation report recommends that natural resources management and environment should be integrated as core elements and evaluation criteria of recovery programs; not as box-ticking impact-assessment exercises.

The report also recommends that the interdisciplinary expert group should advise policy-makers how to apply a precautionary approach to economic recovery plans to reduce the risk of future outbreak.

This process was done by the ERM Foundation in collaboration with the Environmental Foundation for Africa with support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

Mr. Garnett  said at the peak of  the Ebola crisis many lost their lives, while people especially in those  forest  countries decided  to take a closer look in the area of  forest  especially, to what extend fragmentation was creating a region for bats  that was expected  to be transmitting  the EVD to human.

At the same time, the Global Manager of ERUM Ms. Shona King said the report is a result of the recent EVD outbreak in the 3 surrounding countries and its effects to the environment.

She said the new report investigates seven outbreaks where the Ebola virus was transmitted from its wild reservoir, suspected to be bats, to a human.

“The report analyses the forest cover conditions during the seven outbreaks and in three cases, changes in the landscape in the thirty years leading up to the outbreak.

The report analyses bats’ response to fragmented, forest landscapes, indicating that in such conditions, it is possible for several species bats’ other animals and humans that normally would not be in contact, to come into contact.”

Ms. King disclosed that the results of the outbreak in the three effected countries, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, has resulted in more than 11,000 deaths, massive social upheaval and billions of dollars lost in economic activity.

Contact

For more information, contact;

Massah, Moses-Programme Specialist Energy and Environment; e-mail-moses.massah@undp.org Tel;+231/770003787   

Augusta Pshorr –Communications Analyst E-mail: augusta.pshorr@undp.org Tel: +231-770-003-819/886-521-425

Sam Zota –National UNV Communications Associate Email: zotasam@gmail.com Tel: +231-886-474-563/770175162      

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