Coronavirus: UN's World Food Programme thanks UAE for aid flights

The government pledged the use of three aircraft to deliver essential supplies to countries hit by the pandemic

Medical aid is loaded onto a flight bound for Iran. The UAE has donated more than 400 tonnes of aid to at least 43 countries since the outbreak of Covid-19. Wam
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The UN’s World Food Programme has thanked the UAE for its help to deliver health and humanitarian supplies to countries affected by the pandemic.

The Emirati government dedicated three aircraft to carry cargo and personnel where they were needed most until the end of the year.

The fleet would operate on rotation between the UAE and various locations across Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

Together, they would supply millions of medical items and thousands of tons of cargo to communities and frontline workers in more than 100 countries in the months to come.

The decision to dedicate the fleet was made within hours of a conversation between Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and WFP’s executive director, David Beasley, said the body.

“At this grave moment in history, when so many countries face enormous challenges at home, the UAE is once again stepping up as a leading first responder to global crises and making its significant capabilities available in the service of humanity,” said Mr Beasley.

WFP said the first airlift left Abu Dhabi carrying important medical equipment from Oslo to numerous destinations.

“WFP has been working tirelessly to set up the logistics backbone for the global COVID-19 effort,” said Mr Beasley.

“This partnership with the UAE will expand our capacity and support health and humanitarian organisations as we rally together to limit the spread of the virus and its devastating effects.”

Speaking at a global pledging conference on Monday, Reem Al Hashimy, the UAE Minister of State for International Co-operation said the country had already airlifted more than 472 tonnes of medical aid, personal protective equipment and supplies to 43 countries around the world.

Sudan became the latest recipient of aid this week, after Dh75million of pharmaceutical and medical supplies were dispatched to the country this week on behalf of Abu Dhabi Fund for Development.

"Our World Health Organisation hub in Dubai’s International Humanitarian City has processed more than 132 shipments and acted as the primary distribution point of PPE for the organisation,” she said.

"Thus far, $110 million has been allocated and dispatched."