Street Child founder and international director Tom Dannatt has praised Gambia Bird’s decision to resume flights between London and Freetown amid the growing Ebola crisis.
Speaking to The Guardian’s Lisa O’Carroll, he said, “This is a big step forward. It is highly significant. It will increase the options, reduce the costs in time and in terms of getting resources out there.”
“At the moment, DfID [the Department for International Development] are encouraging NGOs to set up triage centres, but the question is how do you get the equipment out there. So good on Gambia Bird for showing a bit of African solidarity . . .”
Gambia Bird’s decision to fly twice weekly from Gatwick from 17th October, is a major step towards creating a humanitarian corridor between the UK and Sierra Leone, enabling aid workers, business travellers and health supplies to reach a country in desperate need of assistance. This announcement comes after the US pledged to set up an ‘air-bridge’ to Liberia to bring in additional supplies and health care workers.
Street Child hopes that the decision to resume flights will not only increase Sierra Leone’s capacity to fight the spread of Ebola, but will also help economic life, which has experienced a sharp decline in recent months. This in turn will help Sierra Leone to slow the growing humanitarian crisis; a side-effect of Ebola and the tough measures used to contain it.
Dannatt concluded by saying that the decision would send an important message to international communities about the perceived danger of flying to Freetown.
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