A group of 11 miners operating in West Africa on Monday called on the international community to step up its effort to help combat the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in the region that had, to date, killed nearly 2 100 people, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The companies, including African Mining Services, ArcelorMittal, Aureus Mining, Dawnus Group, Golden Veroleum Liberia, Hummingbird Resources, Iamgold, London Mining, MonuRent, Newmont Mining and Randgold Resources, in a joint statement said they were concerned about the impact of the Ebola virus on affected countries’ economies and the well-being of their people, which was being compounded by subsequent decisions and actions that affected travel to and trade with West Africa.
“We … recognise that a larger coordinated global effort is required. The global community has a strong track record in responding to natural disasters such as hurricanes or earthquakes. We need a similar strength of resolve to tackle an epidemic that has the potential to cause great harm to this region,” they stated.
The group urged the international community to pool its resources and lend support to help reverse the virus and enable these countries to recover as swiftly as possible from having to deal with the epidemic, pointing to US President Barrack Obama’s declaration on Sunday pledging US military support in the region, saying this was exactly the type of action that was required.
Britain on Monday also said it would send military and humanitarian experts to Sierra Leone to set up a treatment centre for Ebola victims.
Further, the group expressed its dismay that travel restrictions to the countries most impacted by the virus would only aggravate the growing humanitarian crisis.
“We are calling for the immediate opening of humanitarian and economic corridors to the affected countries and urge the international community to respect the [Economic Community Of West African States’] call to lift any travel bans in accordance with the WHO recommendation.
“Without the support of the international community, the situation for these economies, many of which are only beginning to return to stability after decades of civil war, will be even more catastrophic,” the companies said.
Despite Ebola being a horrific virus, it could be avoidable and containable with the right understanding, precautions and processes in place.
“Our companies have made long-term commitments to these countries and their people and we intend to honour these commitments. We have strong ties to hundreds of local communities that depend on our operations. Despite the challenging environment, we are continuing where possible with normal operations, with the health and safety of our employees being the absolute priority at all times,” they said.
The group added that they were committed to support the organisations and selfless individuals working to contain the outbreak, as well as the governments concerned to bring the epidemic to an end.