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      Economic impact of Ebola Virus Disease outbreak on an extractive firm: a case study

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            Purpose: The Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak was the most severe public health emergency in modern times. The economic impact of outbreaks has mostly been analysed at the macroeconomic level. Conversely, we aimed to estimate the economic costs of preventive measures of the outbreak to an extractive firm, ArcelorMittal, using data in the outbreak region from March 2014 to December 2015. ArcelorMittal is the worlds largest steel producer and particularly important in West Africa, where the extractive industry is economically crucial. Methods: Qualitative methods, in-depth interviews and focus group discussions, were used to investigate the events and channels of impact of the outbreak on the firm, as perceived by employees and contractors. Quantitative data regarding these costs was also collected. Retrospective cost analysis estimated the actual cost of preventive methods adopted. Results: Most respondents indicated the largest cost impact was suspension of Phase II expansion, a series of projects designed to increase iron ore production in Liberia. The next largest cost was the preventive measures adopted to counter disease spread. Total costs incurred for adopting preventive measures was USD 10.58-11.11 million. The overall direct costs of preventive measures adopted within the fence shared 30-31% of the total costs incurred. The share of external donation supporting humanitarian response was 11-12% of the total costs, followed by 7-12% of relational costs. Conclusions: The firms response during the EVD outbreak focused on its employees and operations, which was later expanded to the wider community and then in supporting the international humanitarian response.


            Author and article information

            UCL Open: Environment Preprint
            UCL Press
            30 September 2019
            [1 ] THINKLab, The University of Salford, United Kingdom; Centre of Disaster Resilience, The University of Salford, United Kingdom
            [2 ] Department of Surgery, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom
            [3 ] UCL Institute of Epidemiology & Healthcare, University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT, United Kingdom; Chatham House, 10 St. James’ Square, St. James’s, London, SW1Y 4LE, United Kingdom
            [4 ] Department for Global Health and Development, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom
            [5 ] ArcelorMittal, 7th Floor, Berkeley Square House, Berkeley Square, London, W1J 6DA, United Kingdom
            [6 ] Chatham House, 10 St. James’ Square, St. James’s, London, SW1Y 4LE, United Kingdom
            Author information

            This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


            Economics of health & social care,Health & Social care,Infectious disease & Microbiology,Public health
            ebola,epidemic,economics,health economics,Liberia,Africa,Sanitation, health, and the environment,Environmental economics


            Decision date: 15/10/2019

            Handling Editor: Dan Osborn

            This article is a preprint article and has not been peer-reviewed. It is under consideration following submission to UCL Open: Environment Preprint for open peer review.

            2020-09-23 15:22 UTC

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