Three Chinese special chartered Boeing 747 cargo planes have arrived at the Roberts International Airport (RIA) in Margibi County outside Monrovia with materials and medical equipment for the construction of Ebola Treatment Units or ETUs. The treatment units once ready, will be operated and staffed by Chinese doctors and nurses assisted by Liberian health workers.
A press release from the Foreign Ministry in Monrovia says additional batch of materials and medical equipment will arrive here on Wednesday, 29 October all constituting the fourth round of assistance by the People’s Republic of China to Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, totaling about US$82 million.
Earlier, on Saturday evening, an advance team of 15 specialized personnel arrived from China and was received by Foreign Ministry officials led by Deputy Foreign Minister, Amb. Sylvester Grigsby and Chinese Ambassador accredited to Liberia, Zhang Yue.
The team, which comprised doctor, epidemiologists, designers, engineers and technicians, will prepare for the construction of the ETU, exchange views with officials and experts of Liberia and international partners, and receive professional training. Upon arrival Sunday at the Roberts International Airport, Amb Zhang introduced the team to Minister Grigsby, who welcomed the Chinese to Liberia on behalf of the Government and People of Liberia.
“We are very happy that all of our friends are coming in to help us with this situation of fighting Ebola which we need to get out of our country as quickly as possible so that we can move on with material development”, the Deputy Foreign Minister told journalists. While commenting on the gains the country is making against the virus with reported declined cases, he however warned that it is not enough for Liberia to rest on its laurels yet.
Minister Grigsby also stressed the need for the country to avoid any complacency in the midst of the reported progress in the fight against the virus: “It is not just dealing with the moment. This is a long-term situation because we also have to look beyond this present crisis. As you know in other countries, there have been recurrences. So, their [the Chinese’s] presence and their collaborations with us will help us to look ahead with respect to putting in place a robust healthcare delivery system to deal with any eventuality.”
During this fourth round of Chinese assistance to Ebola-hit countries, China will provide hospital beds, ambulances, motorcycles, personal protective equipment (PPE’s) and other urgently-needed supplies to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea and help build and operate the ETU in Liberia.
A total of 200 tons of cargo is expected to be brought in by three Boeing 747 special Chinese chartered flights and since the outbreak of the Ebola epidemic, the Asian nation has delivered humanitarian aid swiftly and offered multiple batches of emergency assistance.
Prior to the latest assistance, it had offered more than US$40 million in aid, including being among the first country to deliver a huge consignment of PPE’s, drugs and other equipment to fight Ebola to Liberia and Sierra Leone, among others.
On the other hand, China also announced that it will donate US$6 million to the UN Ebola Response Multi-Partner Trust Fund to support the efforts being made by the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER).