H. E. Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia,
H. E. Dr. Bernice T. Dahn, Acting Minister of Health and Social Welfare,
Hon. Mr. B. Elias Shoniyin, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am much honored today to represent the Government of the People’s Republic of China to hand over 4th batch of humanitarian assistance from Chinese government to Liberian Government. The equipments and materials, valued at around 5 million US dollars, include 20 ambulances, 20 pickup trucks, 10 incinerators, 100 motorcycles, 150 hospital beds, 4,000 sets of health care product, 60,000 sets of PPEs, 20,000 bottles of hand-washing disinfectant, and 215 sets of assorted medical instruments such as 645 sprayers, 215 infra-red thermometers and the like. I would like to highlight that among these equipments are 10 fork lifters, which were not in the original list. I recommended adding these 10 giant fork lifters to the list when I saw the urgent need of loading and offloading capacity of the Liberian ports of entry at the juncture of thousands of tons of goods pouring into the country. These goods come at a time when people here are striving for post-Ebola resilience and getting preparedness for future epidemic.
I remember a slogan hanging around China ETU, which reads “Misfortune tests the sincerity of friends”. “A friend in need is a friend indeed” is what I often heard when people talked about China-Liberian relationship during the last several months. I still remember the handover ceremony of the first large batch of humanitarian assistance from China held at Free Port on August 12th last year, also with the presence of Madame President. China was the first country to deliver a large batch of urgent humanitarian assistance across 10,000 miles by a chartered cargo-plane to Liberia and other affected countries. The humanitarian assistance were not only a manifestation of solidarity from the Chinese people but also firm confidence of winning the battle against Ebola by the Liberian people under the leadership of Madame President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
It is the principle of the Chinese people that a man should go all out to help others who need help. Though China itself experienced a severe earthquake in Yunnan Province and several other national disasters last year, China spared no effort to reach out the helping hand to Liberia and the region. Up to now, China has contributed 4 rounds of humanitarian assistance worth of more than 120 Million US Dollars to the region, among which nearly 52 Million US Dollars of materials and cash went to Liberia. China has dispatched 7 special planes, transported more than 200 tons of materials and 400 medical personnel to Liberia. China is the only country to build and operate an ETU here. Thanks to the hard work of the China’s PLA medical team, 6 confirmed Liberian patients walked out of the ETU and rejoined their families and the society. And nearly 3000 Liberians received training from Chinese medical experts. The PLA medical team is still working at the China ETU. China is the one who not only went the first extra mile to help Liberia, but also are determined to finish the last mile in the battle against Ebola.
In China, we have a famous saying as is “a people united can remove mountains”. And hand in hand, we have gone through the darkness in the last several months, and together we have witnessed the miracle Liberia has made in this fight against Ebola. Liberia was once the worst case in the region but now becomes the best. God always help those who help themselves. While the international community has played an important role, the Liberian Government and people, who shouldered the heaviest burden and cost, should get the biggest applauds. The battle against Ebola is like sailing up stream and no advancing means retreating. The danger is still there and constant vigilance and efforts are still needed to ensure what we have achieved will be sustained. Today, we are glad to see that people here not only know how to prevent Ebola but also have a very professional team of work force to contain and control the spread of Ebola. This is, I think, the most important achievement made by the people. With such public awareness, preventive preparedness and treatment expertise, no epidemic can frighten us in the future.
Being free of Ebola is not the end of the journey. China has already set its sights on the post-Ebola time. We believe that while it is important to give people the fish to eat, it is more important to teach people how to fish. With the plan of more personnel training, collaborative research and experience exchange with countries in the region on public health and disease prevention and control, China is determined to share its experiences and skills to help Liberia restore and improve its public health and disease prevention system so as to prevent similar massive epidemic outbreaks in the future. In the meantime, China will also actively participate in Liberia’s economy recovery process. In fact, more and more Chinese companies have come and are coming back to push forward the projects of infrastructure and explore new horizons in Liberia’s post-Ebola recovery.
Liberia now stands at the threshold of not only resilience but also new development and China will continue to play a constructive role in this process. It is our firm belief that crisis brings us danger as well as opportunity. The post-Ebola Liberia will be more resilient, united and dedicated to development.