UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- The World Food Programme ( WFP) said on Tuesday that it is stepping up assistance to people in the three countries most affected by Ebola -- Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
The UN agency "has launched an emergency operation to reach 1.3 million people in health centers and quarantine areas," UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters here.
"The United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS), which WFP manages, deployed an airplane last month to shuttle between the capitals of the three countries to allow vital access for humanitarian workers and the delivery of life-saving supplies," he said.
"The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) cautioned today that disruptions in the food trade and marketing in the three countries hardest hit by Ebola have made food increasingly expensive and harder to come by. It also warned that labor shortages are putting the upcoming harvest season at serious risk, " he said.
Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) has identified six countries at risk for spread of the Ebola virus disease, adding that it was working with them to ensure that full surveillance, preparedness and response plans are in place.
"The following countries share land borders or major transportation connections with the affected countries and are therefore at risk for spread of the Ebola outbreak: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, and Senegal," the UN agency said in the first in a series of regular updates on the Ebola response roadmap that was issued Thursday.
The latest official number of Ebola cases in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone stands at 3,069, with more than 1,552 deaths, making this the largest Ebola outbreak ever recorded, the WHO said.