The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has kick-started a network of global logistics hubs that will support the entire aid community and ensure the delivery of vital medical and humanitarian supplies to developing countries at a time when commercial air transport is at a virtual standstill.
“The window of opportunity to surge medical and humanitarian equipment into Africa to curb the pandemic is closing fast,” said Amer Daoudi, WFP’s COVID-19 Response Director. “Our global logistics support system is up-and-running, and this delivery marks the first of many cargo shipments we will fly to all corners of the globe,” he added.
A WFP-contracted Boeing 757 cargo flight departed the newly-established Global Humanitarian Response Hub in Liège, Belgium, late on Thursday carrying almost 16 metric tons of medical cargo and personal protective equipment like masks and gloves on behalf of UNICEF and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) destined for Burkina Faso and Ghana. Some of this cargo will then be moved to its final destination in the Republic of Congo.
Global Humanitarian Response Hubs located close to where medical supplies are manufactured in Liège, Dubai, and China will link to regional hubs in Ethiopia, Ghana, Malaysia, Panama, Dubai, and South Africa, where a fleet of smaller aircraft will be on standby to move cargo and personnel into priority countries. The network builds on pre-existing UN Humanitarian Response Depots (UNHRD) – including Brindisi in Italy.