In collaboration with Airlink and Fort Worth-based ATX Air Services, LLC, Direct Relief today loaded a charter jet with emergency supplies bound for health workers on the frontlines of the Ebola epidemic in Liberia. This shipment, which includes several thousand pounds of urgently requested gloves, masks, gowns, and other medical resources, follows five others from Direct Relief to the region.
“Flights going into the country are becoming rarer as the virus spreads,” said Andrew MacCalla, Director of Emergency Response at Direct Relief. “The commitment of Airlink, ATX, and their flight crew is invaluable in the effort to keep health workers safe as they care for patients in Ebola hot spots.”
This latest shipment will depart Fort Worth Alliance Airport at 10 a.m. Tuesday and make a stop at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York to pick up additional aid from four other non-governmental organizations – AFYA Foundation, Americares, ChildFund International, and MedShare – before heading to Monrovia, Liberia. In total, the charter will deliver a 15,000 pound payload.
Airlink, a disaster relief organization that links pre-vetted NGO’s with airlines, has secured the chartered 737, funded by an anonymous donor. It will be manned by two all-volunteer crews, flying back-to-back and rotating shifts to keep rested. On board will be four pilots, a mechanic, and a load master. The flight will touch down in Monrovia, unload its humanitarian cargo, refuel and immediately take off for the return flight.
“I had no problem getting the crew for this mission,” remarked Scott Bohnenkamp, General Manager at ATX Air Services. “I had six slots to fill and I had six volunteers willing to donate their time and efforts.”
The Direct Relief materials on the emergency flight were specifically requested by the Liberian Ministry of Health, which has assembled a national task force to ensure coordination in responding to the crisis. To date, Direct Relief has sent more than $620,000 (wholesale) in medical aid to health workers on the frontlines of the Ebola outbreak in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
The donations include products from 3M, Actavis Pharma, Inc., Ansell Healthcare, Basic Medical, Baxter International, Inc., BD, Cera Products, Inc., Covidien, Henry Schein, Inc., Kimberly-Clark, McNeil Consumer Healthcare, Merck & Co., Inc., Mylan Laboratories, Inc., Nephron Pharmaceuticals, Omron Healthcare, Inc., Pfizer, Prestige Brands, Pro2 Solutions, Inc., Sappo Hill, and Teva. Additionally, FedEx has provided assistance with transportation.