Summary of relief efforts contributed by Maersk
- 81 shipments carrying over 480 containers of food, medicine and vehicles to affected countries
- 72 dry containers and 11 reefers donated for storage purposes and inland transportation
- 11,200 tonnes of shipping capacity donated
- 15 humanitarian organisations supported
As of the end of March this year, the total number of cases exceeded 25,000 with over 10,000 deaths, according to the World Health Organisation. The crisis has slowed. New daily cases of the deadly disease have dropped to zero in Liberia, and about 30 in Guinea and Sierra Leone, which were the worst-hit countries last year.
In a six-month response period to the outbreak, and as part of a USD 1 million donation drive, Maersk has shipped more than 480 containers of medicine and supplies, totalling over 11,200 tonnes of shipping capacity, to assist countries in fighting the Ebola crisis in West Africa. These supplies have been used by the UN Logistics Clusters under the World Food Programme, and 15 of their partner humanitarian organisations in emergency operations.
While the UN continues its humanitarian efforts in the affected countries, the critical phase of setting up a proper emergency logistics infrastructure has passed. Since the end of March this year, Maersk has agreed with its UN partners to close its response programme.
Currently, efforts by agencies on the ground will be to focus on inland replenishment and reallocation of relief items, rather than emergency shipment of aid from abroad.
To date, none of the Group’s employees in the affected countries have contracted the disease, which is testament to the efforts of local business units to protect the safety of their staff.
George Gyamie Adjei, Managing Director of APM Terminals in Liberia, says:
“We have been mindful of the safety and health of our workforce, as we need to keep the port running. The management of APM Terminals Liberia instituted stringent protocols geared towards protecting staff and other stakeholders from the virus, such as the distribution of sanitation packs, and a 21-day quarantine rule for any staff or contractor remotely connected to a reported case of transmission.”
“Even though Liberia has not recorded any new Ebola cases recently, we have maintained the same level of vigilance and precautionary measures; because the virus is still extremely active in two of our neighbouring countries and therefore we need to guard against complacency in order to prevent a potential relapse in the rate of transmission here.”
Proud of the team
Over at Maersk Line, besides temperature checks and sanitisation procedures, efforts include the ongoing evaluation of medical facilities in affected areas in order for employees to have access to both inpatient and outpatient treatment if needed.
Eva Kops, Managing Director of Maersk Line in Liberia, sums it up: “I am proud of how disciplined the team has been in dealing with all the precautionary measures and sticking to them throughout this stressful period so that we could all stay safe when going to work. Despite the threat of Ebola, we have a social responsibility to the countries in which we operate. This includes maintaining open trade lanes for both the local economy and the supply of aid and relief cargo.”
“We have been in West Africa for many years and will continue to be, so this is our way of committing to the region.”