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MONROVIA – A United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) aircraft has flown one metric ton of critical medical supplies on behalf of the World Health Organization (WHO) to the Malian capital of Bamako after the first case of Ebola was identified in the country.
UNHAS, managed by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), dispatched the special flight from Liberia's capital Monrovia and it landed in Bamako on Friday night with the supplies, including personnel protection equipment kits, gloves, face shields and buckets.
"Speed is of the essence in this Ebola crisis. Agencies such as WFP and WHO are working on every hour to confront together the virus as a matter of priority", said Denise Brown, WFP's West Africa Regional Director for the WFP in Dakar.The supplies came from a 3,000 square metre humanitarian hub in Monrovia dedicated to the Ebola response and established in September by the Logistics Cluster, which groups UN agencies and non-governmental organizations and is managed by WFP. The seats of the plane, which usually transports humanitarian workers between Ebola-affected countries in West Africa, were removed to make space for the medical equipment. WFP has distributed food to 776,000 people since April in Ebola-affected Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, often on a basis of house-to-house and one family at a time. WFP provides food assistance to patients in Ebola treatment centres, survivors of Ebola discharged from medical centres and to communities with widespread and intense transmission - including to families of people infected with Ebola in treatment, deceased, or recovering. In support of the media response to stop the spread of Ebola in West Africa, UNHAS has so far transported a total of 1,130 passengers and 12 metric tons of cargo for 40 organizations.
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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. In 2013, WFP assisted more than 80 million people in 75 countries.
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