10 May Air Serv Standing By for Ebola Response
ENTEBBE, UGANDA – Air Serv has placed an aircraft on standby for first responders to an outbreak of the Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The country’s health ministry released a statement on May 9th confirming a new outbreak of the virus in the province of Bikoro, located in the northwestern part of the country. Seventeen deaths have already been confirmed.
Ebola is a viral hemorrhagic fever affecting humans and primates, and is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids. Containment will require a coordinated medical response, which is being led by the World Health Organization and health partners including Medicins Sans Frontieres. This is the ninth outbreak of the virus in DRC since 1976, the last having occurred in 2017.
Air Serv has been in contact with Medicins Sans Frontieres regarding logistical needs and ability to provide assistance in moving response teams and medical supplies. “We are mobilizing for rapid response,” says Air Serv CEO Stu Willcuts, “and are ready to deploy within 24 hours.”
In a country plagued by war and unrest, the outbreak comes at a time when humanitarian budgets and resources are already stretched to the limit. Air Serv is requesting pledges to assist in offsetting the cost of critical transportation needs for responding organizations.
Air Serv operates a fleet of six Cessna Caravans, providing “last mile” air transportation in support of humanitarian programs. Responses span eastern and central Africa as needed, with ongoing programs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. From an operations base located in Entebbe, Uganda, Air Serv also provides commercial air charter, facilities, and aircraft maintenance services. For more information, please see www.airserv.org.