18 Oct Air Serv International responds to Ebola outbreak in DRC
WARRENTON, VA, OCTOBER 18, 2007 – Air Serv International has positioned an additional Cessna Caravan in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to help fight the recent outbreak of Ebola hemorrhagic fever in the country. The aircraft will be operating there for a period of two months, under a project funded by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
The Caravan will shuttle between its base in Kananga and the towns of Luebo and Mweka in West Kasaï province, where the Ebola outbreak began in early September. The shuttle is available to the UN and all registered NGOs engaged in the Ebola response.
Air Serv International began ad hoc flights immediately in mid-September in support of Médecins sans Frontières (MSF – Doctors without Borders) as they deployed their Ebola medical response team from Lubumbashi, one of Air Serv International’s three DRC bases. Within a few days, an MSF team of doctors, nurses, logisticians, water-and-sanitation specialists, an epidemiologist and an expert in Ebola fever arrived in the West Kasaï province. Vital Ebola kits, containing protective uniforms, aprons, hoods, masks, glasses, gloves, and boots, were flown from Lubumbashi and Kinshasa to the affected area. All protective gear can only be used once due to the highly contagious nature of the disease, for which there is no cure.
This Ebola response dedicated aircraft will significantly enhance the ability of the UN and international humanitarian organizations to respond to the crisis and contain the outbreak.
Air Serv International is a not-for-profit humanitarian aviation organization based in Warrenton, Virginia. For more than twenty years, Air Serv International pilots have flown in the most inaccessible places in the world under the most challenging circumstances, bringing hope and opportunity to people in need of rescue, rehabilitation and development support.
PHILIPPE SAUVAGE, COUNTRY DIRECTOR, DRC, PHSAUVAGE@AIRSERV.ORG