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Transporting life-saving humanitarian aid, and overcoming the challenges that come with the task, is something Panalpina is all too familiar with. During last year’s festive period, in partnership with UNICEF, Panalpina donated a charter flight to help deliver 100 tons of essential supplies to the Central African Republic.
In the early hours this morning, a similar Panalpina flight took off from Luxembourg; this time the freighter plane was headed for Freetown, Sierra Leone, carrying almost 80 tons of vital supplies and equipment destined for community care centers in the Ebola-affected region.
UNICEF estimates that around 9.8 million children and young people under the age of 20 are currently living in areas of West Africa affected by Ebola, of which almost one third in Sierra Leone. UNICEF has campaigned to remind the world that, unless action is urgently taken, this deadly disease will continue to threaten the lives of millions in the region and beyond.
“The scale of this crisis is unique, with dire and far-reaching consequences. The world’s response must equal the extraordinary and unprecedented challenge posed by Ebola,” warns Elsbeth Mueller, Executive Director of UNICEF Switzerland. “Panalpina’s donated flight is another encouraging example of how, in the midst of this situation, everyone pulls together to help save lives.”
UNICEF’s relief goods, delivered today to Sierra Leone, include protective equipment such as masks, hoods, aprons, overalls and rubber boots; tents; antibiotics; antimalarials; and a great amount of ready-to-use therapeutic food for recovering patients in the treatment centers and for malnourished children. UNICEF estimates that children represent approximately 22 per cent of all people infected by Ebola.
“The festive season should be a time of reflection and consideration, and as we look back over 2014, we think of those in West Africa affected by Ebola,” Peter Ulber, Panalpina CEO, says. “The relief flight will hopefully bring some respite to the people in the region, especially to the many affected children. It’s been our privilege to contribute to the commendable aid efforts in Sierra Leone, and I thank everyone involved.”
At Luxembourg Airport yesterday, LuxairCARGO ground-handling staff also joined in the aid effort, by building up the cargo at no cost before it was flown to Freetown, Sierra Leone, where it is expected to arrive safely around noon local time.
Notes to the editor:
Last year, Panalpina donated a relief flight to UNICEF’s ‘Forgotten Crisis’ campaign in the Central African Republic. The idea for the Panalpina relief flight came about when discussing the company’s traditional Christmas gift-giving for its customers and employees. It was decided that a charitable donation in the form of an aircraft charter would be of more value. The partnership with UNICEF has been renewed this year.
Additional photos and information related to Panalpina’s relief flight to Sierra Leone will be posted to the following UNICEF pages as the story develops: