Serving communities in remote Pacific Islands, WFP Humanitarian Air Service supports COVID-19 response
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA– The Pacific humanitarian air service launched a flight today, delivering 6.5 tonnes of essential medical cargo and moving humanitarian personnel to support the COVID-19 response in Fiji, Kiribati and Nauru.
The flight departed Brisbane, Australia, with a stop in Nadi, Fiji, then Kiribati and Nauru. Cargo on-board included personal protective equipment such as face shields, masks, surgical gowns, as well as ventilators and testing cartridges, transported on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Kiribati, the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Australian Government.
“With border closures and quarantine restrictions continuing to stress supply chains across the region, WFP is proud to be able to serve the Pacific Island community by coordinating and delivering this much needed service and is grateful to the US and Australian Governments whose funding will ensure the viability of this service for months to come.” said Jo Pilgrim, Director of WFP’s Pacific Multi-Country Office.
“The Pacific Humanitarian Air Service is an example of the entire UN system and key partners coming together to respond to a pandemic that has affected us all; but it has affected some more than others,” said Sanaka Samarasinha, UN Resident Coordinator for ten countries in the Pacific. “Our priority is to be able to get humanitarian assistance to the most remote parts of the region. With closed borders a reality for many countries in the Pacific, these Humanitarian flights provide life-saving equipment and personnel at a time when Small Island Developing States would otherwise not have reliable access to transportation and delivery.”
WFP’s Pacific humanitarian air service supports the work of the Pacific Humanitarian Pathway on COVID-19 - a regional coordination platform established by the 18 countries of the Pacific Islands Forum to facilitate timely and rapid movement of medical and humanitarian assistance across the region. It is also part of the greater Pacific Humanitarian Team COVID-19 Response Plan – a comprehensive regional response plan that seeks to consolidate efforts by UN agencies, governments, regional and multilateral organizations, NGOs, donors and development partners.
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The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies, building prosperity, and supporting a sustainable future for people recovering from conflict, disasters, and the impact of climate change.
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