The World Food Programme says that it needs to raise $70 million to feed 1.3 million people at risk from shortages in Ebola-quarantined areas in West Africa.
WFP’s West Africa Director, Denise Brown, said that the organisation was currently providing food for around 150,000 people in Ebola-striken nations but needs to rapidly scale that up as the worst ever epidemic of the virus advanced.
Mrs Brown added that the WFP would look from donations from major donors like the United States, the European Union, the World Bank and Japan, as well as from non-traditional benefactors such as Arab states.
She, however, warned that the agency’s resources were already thinly stretched by major humanitarian crises in Syria, Iraq, South Sudan and Central African Republic.
Hopes of a breakthrough in the fight against Ebola have been raised by the 100% successful treatment of monkeys with the deadly disease.
The experimental drug, ZMapp, cured the animals even when administered five days after infection, while they were displaying severe symptoms.
All 18 rhesus macaques made a complete recovery, in contrast to three other untreated monkeys that quickly fell seriously ill and died.
Two U.S. doctors given the drug after they were infected with Ebola while working in Liberia subsequently recovered. It is not known, however, whether they were saved by the drug or just lucky.
About 45% of those infected in the current outbreak have survived without treatment.
At least two other patients treated with ZMapp have died, possibly because help got to them too late.
The new research, published in a special report on Nature Journal’s website, provides hard evidence that the drug works and can be highly effective.
ZMapp is a blend of three laboratory-made antibodies designed to neutralise the virus.