Working Towards Zero: FIATA participates in International Ebola Partners Forum
The world in which we live is highly interconnected allowing for the steady flow of people and goods around the world. This is the lifeblood of the Forwarder but also enables deadly diseases to spread more rapidly to disastrous results. This was seen in the Ebola epidemic which shut down transportation across West Africa and posed not only a serious threat to global health but to trade as well. As the facilitators of international commerce it is only natural that logisticians, as represented by "the global voice of freight logistics", would rise to face such a challenge.
Although the situation is improving in West Africa, the fight against the Ebola epidemic is not yet over. On January 28, 2015 the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) hosted an international Ebola Partners Forum in Geneva, Switzerland. FIATA, represented by Mr Jean-Claude Delen, was party to this high level strategic meeting, standing shoulder to shoulder with high level diplomats from over 25 countries, representatives from the Centre for Disease Control, Médicins Sans Frontières, World Health Organisation, the World Bank, and half a dozen United Nations entities as well as scores of IFRC representatives from dozens of countries around the world.
The efforts of FIATA through its Ebola Fund, which opened with pledges in excess of 100,000 USD and has already paid 60,000 USD to the recipients, is supposed to benefit from another round of payments; the contributions of the logistics sector at large were commended by the Forum participants. In the words of Mr Delen, "FIATA's presence was well appreciated by the organiser of the event, The Red Cross/ Crescent and Medecins sans Frontières. Clearly Medecins sans Frontières were the champions as they were praised by everybody for having seen the epidemic coming. Their action at government levels and UN resulted in a much more adequate reaction by both the NGO's and the governments of the countries."
The Forum stressed that even though the epidemic is slowing, now is not the time to become complacent, rather, efforts must be redoubled to combat the crisis. As a participant stated, "The epidemic began with a single case, and a single case can reignite the Ebola crisis." Although the transmission rate of the disease has slowed, one of the most recent challenges is its spread over a larger geographical area and the accompanying logistical hurdles that this presents to volunteers and local governments. The Partners Forum asserted that only stopping Ebola is not sufficient. The epidemic has weakened health systems and economies, and increased the vulnerability of communities across Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea. However, through the established partnerships the IFRC has built with various governments, non-governmental organisations, and donors ensure open dialogue, sufficient support and accountability which are essential for long-term recovery and the rebuilding of afflicted health systems.
In closing the Forum and the IFRC paid tribute to the thousands of volunteers and health workers that have put themselves in harm's way to fight this devastating outbreak and the hundreds of thousands of donors who helped contribute much need medicine and supplies. Through our combined global efforts we can all help to fight the most devastating Ebola outbreak in history and achieve the goal of zero cases.
If you would like to contribute to the fund and help fight the dangerous Ebola outbreak in West Africa, please use the following bank information to make your contributions:
US Dollars Account Number:
CH92 0070 0130 0083 3435 8
Reference: EBOLA FUND
CH 8302 Kloten
6 February 2015