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The United Arab Emirates today sent an aid plane containing seven metric tonnes of medical supplies to South Africa to bolster the country’s efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19. WAM Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The UAE’s aid planes have carried approximately 260 tonnes of medical and food aid to 24 countries in the region and beyond since the outbreak of pandemic COVID-19, according to a report by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC).

Up until April 20, 260,000 medical professionals had also been assisted by the aid flights, according to the report issued by MoFAIC.

The UAE worked with many countries to repatriate their citizens who were unable to travel due to the coronavirus outbreak.

It sent 20 tonnes of supplies to China and airlifted 215 Arabs who were stranded there to UAE Humanitarian City in Abu Dhabi.

In London, the UAE helped in setting up a 4,000-bed field hospital NHS Nightingale and on April 5 two planes carrying medical supplies were sent to Pakistan. By placing human solidarity over political issues, the UAE also offered help to Syria.

Thirteen tonnes of medical supplies meant for thousands of health care workers were dispatched to Kazakhstan, Italy, Ukraine, Croatia, Seychelles and Greece. The list of nations receiving UAE aid during the outbreak is long and growing.

The UAE has dispatched two urgent relief planes carrying on-board 42.5 tonnes of medical supplies and relief equipment to support Iran’s ongoing efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus. On March 3, in collaboration with the World Health Organisation, the UAE sent an Air Force aircraft carrying 7.5 tonnes of medical supplies, as well as five WHO experts, to Iran. In the second supply of medical equipment to Iran on March 17, the UAE sent more than 33 tonnes of critical medical supplies, including gloves and surgical masks, as well as other protective equipment, that aims to help 33,000 health care workers.

Apart from providing humanitarian assistance, the UAE government worked with the US Mission to the UAE to repatriate at least 25 American citizens who were unable to travel due to the outbreak.

The UAE Embassy in Washington was an initial donor to the Children’s National Hospital, which launched DC’s first drive-up/walk-up COVID-19 testing location for children and young patients. The UAE is also providing charitable support to Chef José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen, which has been distributing 50,000 packaged fresh meals to communities in need. The UAE Embassy is also supporting Feed the Fight, an organisation distributing meals to health care workers and first responders, and Good Food Markets, which is providing groceries to Washington, DC residents in need.

Even before this outbreak started early this year, the UAE has been helping countries in the region and around the world. The country’s leadership has always given priority to humanitarian missions in conflict zones in Middle East and beyond.

In 2018, the UAE’s foreign aid contributions to 42 countries exceeded US$7.79 billion.