A flight carries approximately 11 metric tonnes of medicines and medical supplies to Gaza Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, issued directives to facilitate the dispatch of urgent relief supplies mobilised by the International Humanitarian City (IHC) in Dubai as part of a vital relief air bridge to Gaza through El Arish Airport in Egypt.

Highlighting Dubai’s unwavering commitment to humanitarian missions, a flight carrying approximately 11 metric tonnes of medicines and medical supplies obtained from the stocks of the World Health Organisation (WHO) took off early Wednesday for El Arish Airport where the crucial aid consignment is to be transferred to a WHO team, which coordinates onward dispatches into Gaza.

Giuseppe Saba, CEO of IHC, said: “We are proactively supporting the international humanitarian community to respond to the ongoing humanitarian emergency and ease suffering in Gaza. The mission of Dubai’s International Humanitarian City resonates deeply with its dedication to saving lives by fulfilling urgent medical needs in coordination with the World Health Organisation. Together with our partners, we remain dedicated to standing by the most vulnerable everywhere, aligning with Dubai and the UAE’s efforts towards our humanitarian duties.”

UAE sends additional humanitarian relief goods to Gaza on Wednesday Image Credit: Supplied

Additional missions

The Gaza-bound airlift is the first of a series of such missions this year, with three to four additional missions scheduled to deliver desperately needed aid to the people of Gaza. The shipment includes essential supplies, such as non-communicable disease kits and medicines, necessitating strict compliance with temperature controls during their transportation. IHC and its partners meticulously oversee the logistics of the operation to ensure the safe and timely delivery of aid to those in need.

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Dr Hanan Balkhy, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, stated that WHO’s logistics hub, which is hosted in IHC, provides a lifeline to countries affected by health emergencies across the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region and beyond. “As the health crisis in the Gaza Strip unfolds and as hostilities in Rafah escalate, these medicines are critical for people whose access to medical care has been severely restricted owing to shortages facing the health system as a whole,” said Dr Balkhy.

Live-sving supplies

“WHO is grateful for the support of Dubai’s International Humanitarian City, the Government of Dubai, and the Government of the United Arab Emirates to deliver life-saving supplies to the world’s most vulnerable populations in their greatest time of need,” Dr Balkhy added.

IHC moved swiftly last year to establish an air bridge to facilitate urgent relief supplies to populations affected by the escalating crisis in Gaza. It facilitated six air shipments within ten days, leveraging its vast network and resources to bolster humanitarian efforts and ensure a rapid response to the crisis, reaffirming its standing as a leading humanitarian hub in the region.