As a first measure of support, the European Commission is transporting aid workers and critical medical material to the affected area the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) which is facing an outbreak of Ebola. A plane of the Commission's humanitarian aid service 'ECHO Flight' which can transport staff and equipment of up to 2 500 kg, is due to take off from Kinshasa to Buta this Friday, 26 May.
The request for the air logistics assistance came from UNICEF and agreed with the DRC Ministry of Health. Planes and helicopters are needed to reach the affected communities since the outbreak is reported in a remote and hard to reach area.
Commissioner Stylianides, responsible for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management and EU Ebola Coordinator said, "It's vital to reach the affected areas and support early efforts in tackling the latest Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The EU's humanitarian air service will help get specialised personnel and medical supplies to the northeast of the country. The EU is committed to providing further support and working closely the national authorities, the World Health Organization (WHO) as well as international medical NGOs and agencies."
EU Humanitarian Aid operates a humanitarian air service known as ECHO Flight, operating flights in African countries, with hubs in Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo and Mali. Its fleet consists of 6 aircrafts. The service is free of charge for EU's humanitarian partners and aid organisations.
Humanitarian air services provide a lifeline for millions of people who are caught up in humanitarian emergencies. When a crisis hits, guaranteeing fast and safe access to the field is vital to save lives. In 2016, ECHO Flight transported 27 700 passengers and around 170 tonnes of cargo.
The ability to respond to humanitarian crises quickly is paramount to preventing loss of lives.