Dubai Ruler sends emergency aid to Caribbean after Hurricane Irma

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid sends relief supplies to Haiti in response to a request from the United Nations World Food Programme and UNHRD partners

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid has ordered a relief plane bound for Haiti after Hurricane Irma. Supplied picture
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Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid ordered emergency relief supplies to Haiti, which is expected to be severely affected by Hurricane Irma.

A B747-400 aircraft carrying the aid flew out of Dubai International Airport this morning headed to Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital. The plane is expected to land in Haiti later on Friday.

The Vice President and Ruler of Dubai was responding to a request from the United Nations World Food Programme and UNHRD partners.

Read more: Hurricane Irma turns Barbuda to 'rubble' as storm the size of France churns through the Caribbean

The aircraft has been loaded with more than 90 metric tonnes of key relief items made available by International Humanitarian City (IHC) members. Among the relief and survival items on board are food and non-food supplies including mobile storage units, lighting equipment, water purification kits, and pool testers.

Aid agency Unicef has estimated that there are more than 10.5 million children living in countries likely to be affected by Irma, a category 5 storm the size of France.

In this satellite image released by NASA/NOAA GOES Project, Hurricane Irma reaches Puerto Rico on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017. A decade-long lucky streak of decent weather that helped rescue one of Florida's biggest home insurers from collapse could come to a wet, violent end if predictions about Hurricane Irma prove true. (NASA/NOAA GOES Project via AP)

The charity said children in the eastern Caribbean islands of Haiti, Dominican Republic and Cuba are most at risk.

Princess Haya bint Al Hussein, the IHC chair, said the emergency airlift as a symbol of the UAE’s commitment to international humanitarian assistance.

“This rapid response is the fruit of an unprecedented co-operation and proof of our robust support to vulnerable populations all over the world,” she said.

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This is the fifth relief plane sent in 2017 by IHC under the instructions of Sheikh Mohammed to crisis and disaster-stricken areas. Earlier this year, aid was airlifted to Madagascar, South Sudan, Uganda and Iraq.

Princess Haya flew last year in October 2016 to Haiti and personally oversaw the delivery and distribution of relief supplies after Hurricane Matthew had devastated the island.

On Thursday, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, ordered a special plane to evacuate UAE citizens in Florida to a safe destination. Hurricane Irma is expected to reaches mainland United States on Saturday or Sunday.

* With agency