23 September 2016, Los Angeles—Stephen McAndrew has been presented with a Member of the Order of the British Empire award for his outstanding humanitarian service as head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies` Ebola response in Sierra Leone.
“The Ebola response should give all of us hope and inspiration that the world can still work together and solve problems when faced with a serious challenge,” he said, during an award ceremony at the British Consul in Los Angeles, California on 22 September.
“I accept this recognition on behalf of all the Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers and staff who answered the call for help from all over of the world and right in their own affected communities and villages, to stop Ebola.”
In Sierra Leone, Stephen led IFRC’s life-saving operations at two of the main Ebola treatment centres in the cities of Kenema and Kono and critical community outreach, contact tracing and psychosocial support services. He also took on the mobilization and organization of safe burial teams in the country, training over 500 Sierra Leoneans to perform safe and dignified burials for the deceased—one of the most critical factors in bringing the outbreak to a close.
“We are incredibly proud of the work carried out by Stephen and his team in Sierra Leone,” says Dr Julie Hall, IFRC health director. “Stephen and his colleagues embody the commitment and courage of Red Cross and Red Crescent staff and volunteers around the world who do the kind of work to help people in need that few others are willing to do, often in places that few are willing to go.”
Stephen, a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and resident of Santa Monica, California, has been at the centre of many of IFRC’s largest humanitarian responses in recent years, from the earthquakes in Haiti and Nepal to the shores of Greece, where until very recently he was heading IFRC’s emergency aid operations for arriving migrants. There, he was overseeing relief programmes that included medical care, information access, delivery of food, water, blankets and relief supplies and assistance reconnecting separated families.