August 2, 2014 4:57 pm

Ebola outbreak puts brakes on Alberta energy company’s work in West Africa

A man reads a newspaper on a Lagos street with the headline Ebola Virus kills Liberian in Lagos, Saturday, July 26, 2014.

AP Photo/Sunday Alamba

EDMONTON – Renova Energy, which has workers in Liberia, has had to put its work to supply energy to the region on hold.

Health officials continue to warn Canadians to steer clear of three African nations struck by a deadly Ebola outbreak.

The World Health Organization says this is by far the largest outbreak ever in the disease’s nearly four decade history.

READ MORE: WHO: Ebola moving faster than control efforts 

More than 1,300 cases have been reported and hundreds of people have died.

Ian Jaeger’s Alberta-based company, Renova Energy, has workers on the ground in Liberia. They are working to supply electricity, hot water, solar and wind energy to the area.

“Work is shut down, schools are shut down.”

Jaeger says many people are choosing to stay in their homes and that daily business has – for the most part – come to a standstill.

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“I worry about them,” he says. “How are you guys going to get food? Okay, nobody’s working now, so how are you guys getting paid?”

On Thursday, the Public Health Agency of Canada upgraded its travel notice to West African nations, including Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

It is urging Canadians to avoid all non-essential travel to the region. The health agency says while the risk of contracting the disease may be low, travelers could find it difficult to access health care should they happen to fall ill. In addition, officials are worried Canadians could risk exposure to the virus by visiting a medical centre in an affected region.

READ MORE: 5 things to know about the Ebola outbreak amid fears of global spread 

“Everyone’s washing their hands with bleach,” said Jaeger.

“It was just made mandatory yesterday that every store, every business has to have a hand washing station with bleach or chlorine at the front. If not, they get fined.”

He says the epidemic has made it difficult for his company to move forward with plans.

“Everyone is just locked up in their homes and really nothing is going on,” said Jaeger. “So for us to go and meet the people that we need to meet, like the senators, the vice president, ministers of finance, energy… it’s going to be tough to even get meet them on a regular basis. So, we just delayed it for a month.”

Jaeger said the company plans to fly to Ghana in September to continue work there before heading to Liberia, if flights are up and running by that time.

With files from Shallima Maharaj, Global News

© Shaw Media, 2014

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