Following a new EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flight to South Sudan today carrying 41 tonnes of supplies, the Commission has now coordinated and financed the delivery of over 1,100 tons of medical equipment to critical areas in Africa, Asia and the Americas. Countries supported include Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran, Sudan, South Sudan, Haiti, Somalia, Guinea Bissau, Iraq and Yemen. The 45 Air Bridge flights have also transported 1,475 medical and humanitarian staff since its launch on 8 May 2020.
Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič who has been on several Air Bridge flights said: “The EU has not backed away from global solidarity during the coronavirus pandemic. We need more cooperation and coordination at the international level to really get the pandemic under control. Our EU Air Bridge flights have made a real difference to countries with fragile health systems. We will continue working both at home in Europe and internationally to support our partners facing this common challenge.”
In addition to providing transport capacities, the EU has also provided diplomatic support to facilitate access for the humanitarian delivery. The EU is coordinating closely with and complementing UN flight operations managed by the World Food Programme.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought about huge logistical challenges for the humanitarian community. The EU Humanitarian Air Bridge, part of the Team Europe approach, offers air transport capacity to EU Member States in support of immediate logistical needs of humanitarian actors, including transport of humanitarian supplies and staff to and from third countries and covers 100 % of the transport costs. Through its return flights, the initiative also helps with the transport of humanitarian teams on rotation and assists with the repatriation of EU citizens. While needs remain high in many critical areas; the EU’s Humanitarian Air Bridge holds up the delivery of vital assistance during the absence of commercial cargo and passenger flights.
Source: European Commission’s Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations