As the world reels from its worst Ebola outbreak, the nation hardest hit is declaring a shortage of body bags, which are crucial to preventing the spread of the deadly virus. Liberia, one of three countries most affected by the outbreak, said it has 4,900 body bags nationwide. It needs 85,000 more in the next six months, the Health Ministry said in a statement.
A grim inventory of supplies shows body bags were not the only items lacking. Liberia is also experiencing a shortage of other supplies needed to fight the virus, including protective suits, face masks, gloves and goggles.
2.4 million boxes of gloves are also needed in the next six months, but the country only has 18,000 boxes. Each box has 100 pairs. About 1.2 million hooded overalls are needed within the same time frame, but the country only has165,000.
The numbers are the latest setback in Liberia’s fight against Ebola, which has killed at least 2,458 people in the nation. This week, health workers in the nation went on strike to demand higher pay, leaving some clinics unattended.
Since the outbreak started in March, about 9,000 Ebola cases and 4,493 deaths have been reported, mostly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to the World Health Organization. More than half of the deaths have been in Liberia.And the numbers are expected to skyrocket.
There could be up to 10,000 new Ebola cases per week in the three hardest-hit nations by the end of the year, the World Health Organization said. It warned that things will get worse before they get better.
Liberia has some supplies arriving in the next week, but the Health Ministry said they are still insufficient. Items scheduled to arrive don’t include body bags. In addition to the three nations, a handful of Ebola cases have also been reported in Senegal, Nigeria, Spain and the United States.