From food to medical supplies: How Dubai helps WHO, international groups send tonnes of relief aid to Turkey, Syria

IHC has an emergency preparedness and response system in place and facilitates number of UN agencies and other humanitarian organisations for emergency response


Lamya Tawfik

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Published: Thu 9 Feb 2023, 7:08 PM

Last updated: Thu 9 Feb 2023, 7:14 PM

The International Humanitarian City (IHC) has sent a relief flight to Turkey on Thursday and another one is scheduled to fly out on Friday afternoon to Syria, according to a senior official.

The Dubai Media Office announced that the IHC, in collaboration with the World Health Organization, sent the first cargo plane on Wednesday evening with 37 tons of medical kits. Another relief flight to Syria to support international humanitarian agencies is being facilitated with crucial aid such as medicines and essential supplies.

Giuseppe Saba, CEO of IHC, said the aid dispatched included medication kits and supplies that were made available by the World Health Organization. "The International Humanitarian City hosts a large number of United Nations agencies and other international humanitarian organisations, and each one is prepositioning humanitarian aid for emergency response. IHC has an emergency preparedness and response system by the community, which is composed of different organisations and other main actors,” he said.

Giuseppe Saba
Giuseppe Saba

IHC, as part of the Dubai government, helps by facilitating flights. "This happens quite frequently, such as the air bridge that was organised last September for Pakistan after the heavy floods. This type of assistance goes through the International Humanitarian City for complex emergency and natural disasters," he explained.

While the two flights are focused on providing medical kits and supplies from the stocks of the World Health Organization, such as those needed for trauma and emergencies, there are other relief flights in the pipeline with other supplies such ready to eat food, tents, blankets and hygiene kits, Giuseppe revealed.

The dispatches, he explained, need to be organised in a way that allows time for the distribution in the affected countries by those working in the field. When it comes to the distribution of medical supplies, Giuseppe said that the standard procedure is to hand over the supplies to the health counterparts in the destinations, which are usually the ministries of health.

"We are only a few days from when the disaster took place, and we have already received requests from United Nations High Commission for Refugees and the World Food Program to support them by dispatching aid to both countries. We have a long list; there's an urgent request for blankets, tents and other materials that are needed in both countries," he said, adding that the items are ready for dispatch and that they will be sent soon.

"We are waiting for confirmation from the transport; I believe that it will be early next week or even before. We're just waiting for availability on board aircraft," said Giuseppe.


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