MONROVIA, Liberia — Government officials handed out bags of rice and containers of drinking water Thursday to residents of a slum in Liberia's capital where tens of thousands of people have been barricaded in an effort to stop the spread of Ebola.
International aid workers warned that more help was needed as the country battles not only the virulent disease but also hunger as travel restrictions have blocked food from getting to parts of the seaside capital.
In the tense township of West Point, hundreds of residents lined up to receive government provisions a day after authorities put up barbed wire barricades and enforced a blockade of the area that kept market traders from entering or leaving.
Prices were skyrocketing inside the community on a peninsula, with the price of water quadrupling in a matter of days in the slums where there is no clean running water amid steamy temperatures.
"At the moment West Point is stuck at a standstill and is in an anarchy situation," said Moses Browne, who works for aid group Plan International in Liberia.
"We need food, we need water," he said, appealing for international support. "We're not just fighting Ebola here, we are fighting hunger too."
Liberia is being hit especially hard by the dreaded virus that has killed 1,350 people in West Africa, accounting for 576 of the deaths.
Several counties and districts in Sierra Leone and Liberia have been cordoned off, and there are concerns this is slowing the supply of food and other goods to these areas. The World Food Program is preparing to feed 1 million people affected by such travel restrictions.
Senegal announced late Thursday that it was closing its border with Guinea because of the outbreak, according to a government statement carried by APS, the national press agency.