LUXEMBOURG: Cargolux has operated a second 747 freighter flight on behalf of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) from Luxembourg to Monrovia carrying 71 tonnes of sanitation supplies - including several tonnes of chlorine and over 9,000 protection kits for families affected by the Ebola outbreak.
The flight follows the declaration by the U.N. Security Council that the spread of the virus is a "threat to international peace and security". Earlier the U.S. announced it would be sending 3,000 military personnel to provide logistics support and training for the region's overwhelmed local authorities.
"Here's the hard truth. In West Africa, Ebola is now an epidemic of the likes that we have not seen before. It's spiraling out of control," said U.S. president Barack Obama. "If the outbreak is not stopped now, we could be looking at hundreds of thousands of people infected with profound political and economic and security implications for all of us."
According to the U.S. Agency for International Development, America has already committed US$100 million to combat the spread of the virus.
U.N. secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said US$1 billion is needed to halt the virus that threatens the lives of 22 million people in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. He called on corporations to provide medicines, transport and communication resources.
Cargolux CEO & president Dirk Reich resonded saying: "Providing humanitarian airlift is a crucial element in the effective fight against Ebola. It is our responsibility to make sure that the affected countries are not sealed off from vital medical supplies."
Briefing the Secuirty Council in New York, Margaret Chan, director-general of the UN World Health Organization (WHO) added: "None of us experienced in containing outbreaks has ever seen, in our lifetimes, an emergency on this scale, with this degree of suffering and with this magnitude of cascading consequences."
Dr Chan noted that current reports showing more than 5,500 people have been infected and more than 2,500 killed in West Africa are "vast underestimates."
The U.N. response follows earlier comments from MSF International president Joanne Liu who said despite sending more than 420 tonnes of supplies to the affected countries to support 2,000 staff managing 530 beds in five different Ebola care centres, the NGO is overwhelmed: "We are honestly at a loss as to how a single, private NGO is providing the bulk of isolation units and beds."
MSF has confirmed that one of its international staff members in Liberia has been diagnosed with Ebola and will be transferred to a specialised treatment center in France.