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Ebola logistics effort takes off

ACCRA, Ghana: As part of the growing international logistics response to the Ebola crisis, the German Air Force has positioned a C160 Transall aircraft (below) at Kotoka airport Accra, Ghana to ferry U.N. humanitarian supplies and equipment to Freetown, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

According to the U.N. Missions for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), items include high-energy biscuits and infrastructure equipment to establish a logistics chain for future aid delivery. UNMEER has also received three Mi-8 helicopters flown on a Volga-Dnepr AN124 from Moscow to Freetown.

German Air Force Transvaal aircraft at Kotoka airport Accra Ghana Meanwhile the World Food Programme has chartered a flight to Monrovia, Liberia carrying 58 tonnes of water tanks, washing units and generators as a WFP-contracted ship left Cotonou, Benin, with 7,000 tonnes of rice en route to Freetown, Sierra Leone and Monrovia.

In the past three days the U.N.'s Humanitarian Response Depots have delivered 159 tonnes of equipment for forward logistics bases in Liberia and Guinea as part of 449 tonnes of protective gear, emergency health kits, relief items and support equipment sourced from depots in Dubai, Ghana, Italy and Spain.

A UNMEER report on October 16 said just under 9,000 people are suspected or confirmed Ebola cases of which 4,493 have died. The leaders of France, Germany, Italy, the UK and the U.S. have now declared the epidemic "the most serious international public health emergency in recent years".

Despite an appeal by president Alpha Conde of Guinea for retired doctors to return to work to help fight the outbreak, many health workers in the country have reportedly fled in fear of the disease. The government said 76 of the country's doctors have been infected since March and 37 have died. Meanwhile healthcare unions in Liberia have called off a strike over pay and working conditions for medical staff tackling the Ebola epidemic. The walkout, which began on October 13, had poor support and most hospitals and clinics in the country continued to operate normally.

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