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The Toll of Ebola on East Africa

THE ECONOMIST   in 
August 18, 2014

IN EASTERN Sierra Leone the roads are unusually quiet. Checkpoints manned by heavily armed soldiers have blocked all movement to and from the districts of Kailahun and Kenema. The main road to Freetown, the capital, is travelled by just a few motorbikes and cars carrying supplies. In Kenema, a usually heaving taxi rank is all but deserted; its cabs have nowhere to go.

Ebola has hit this region hard, and not just because of the deaths it has caused. The federal government’s quarantines have taken their own toll. Businesses are suffering and villagers have complained of shortages. But, even after having declared a state of emergency, the government’s precautions are patchy. At the public hospital in Kenema, which treats Ebola patients, visitors pass in and out as they like. There are few safeguards to prevent them from catching and spreading the disease.

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