Left-Right: WFP Country Director Mr Sory Ouane, WFP’s Head of Logistics Mr. Tewolde Baraki & Health Minister Dr. Bernice Dahn The World Food Programme (WFP) has, in line with plan, turned over to the Government of Liberia all logistics and supply chain infrastructure the Organization developed, deployed and implemented during the Ebola emergency operations in 2014/15.
The assets worth, over two million United States dollars, included: Five forward logistics bases (FLBs) in five counties (Maryland, Grand Gedeh, Bong, Lofa, and Grand Bassa), Mobile storage units established in all fifteen counties, Five trucks, Five light vehicles, 25 laptop computers to the Government of Liberia (GSA), Medical supplies under WFP’s custody.
In addition to the above mentioned assets, as capacity development initiative, 25 GSA employees underwent quality, hands-on training in ground logistics operations at WFP operation sites and class room training in basic supply chain management. Henceforth, they are going to serve as one of the main powerhouses and engines of the logistics operations and management in Liberia, through the GSA. Under this capacity building component of the project, WFP spend over 200, 000 united states dollars.
In 2014 and 2015 during the Ebola outbreak, worst predications were not realized in Liberia due to the coordinated efforts of the Government and Humanitarian Actors. Hundreds of thousands of people living in quarantined and isolated communities located in almost all counties in Liberia were effectively reached and the spread of the disease was controlled.
WFP built a supply chain network of over 22,000 cubic meters of storage space. This included 3 main logistics bases (In the Free port, Robert International Airport and SKD Stadium) and 5 forward logistics bases (In Vonjama, Gbarnga, Buchanan, Zwedru & Harper). WFP also constructed 14 mobile storage units in all counties outside Monrovia, increasing Ministry of Health storage capacity by 3,700 cubic meters. Worth to mention is the construction of two Ebola treatment Units in Harper & Monrovia
However, this success would not have been possible without the large logistics infrastructure and skills developed, deployed and executed by WFP, in partnership with donors, humanitarian actors, and the Government of Liberia.
WFP particularly applauds the Office of the U. S. Foreign Disaster Assistance or OFDA/USAID for the crucial role it played in providing the much-needed funding for this special operation. The World Food Programme remains fundamentally grateful to OFDA/USAID and the Government and people of the United States of America for being our main development partner in the fight against Ebola. Without OFDA’s financial intervention and funding during those days of Ebola emergency, this effective support to the government and humanitarian sector wouldn’t have been possible on the scale that we saw it unfold.
After Liberia was declared Ebola free in January 2016, WFP, with the aim to help strengthen Government’s logistics capacity, devised a Special Operation to transfer to the Government of Liberia these logistics supply chain assets and skills developed during the Ebola response.
The first handover of assets took place at RIA, on 18th April 2016, when WFP handed over the RIA hub to the Liberia Airport Authority. That exercise marked the first of a gradual transitional handover effort. Today’s handover is the last and final after which the GOL through the GSA assumes total ownership and managerial responsibility.
As stated earlier, assets WFP turned over on June 28, 2016 included The Logistics Hub at SKD (which has been relocated to the ELWA site), Forward Logistics Hubs in five counties, and Mobile Storage Units established in all fifteen counties. But focus is not only on the physical assets…WFP, as mentioned earlier, has completed successfully the capacity strengthening on Supply Chain Management through on-the-job and indoor training of 25 government staff assigned with WFP from the General Service Agency (GSA) since September 2015.
WFP’s Head of Logistics, Mr. Tewolde Baraki, informed Health Minister Dr. Bernice Dahn that the combination of the logistics infrastructure (developed by WFP together) with five trucks, five light vehicles and other equipment like forklifts and generators as well as the trained staff of GSA completes the full handover process in terms of sustainable management of the operations of the facilities.
WFP through its Country Director Mr. Sory Ouane especially thanked Her Excellency Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the President of Liberia, for her personal involvement through the active participation of the President’s Delivery Unit in brining all stakeholders together to ensure a smooth transitional handover.