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Jun 27 2020

NATO Supports UN Call to Transport COVID Supplies to Africa

MONS, Belgium - A Royal Air Force (RAF) C-17, representing NATO, took off from RAF Brize Norton on Saturday, June 27, 2020, on a journey funded by the United Kingdom Department for International Development. The transport aircraft was carrying a field hospital, which will be used as a backup facility for frontline aid workers in West Africa. Aid workers from around the world are playing a crucial role in West Africa working to improve health systems, prevent the spread of coronavirus and save lives.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) issued a global call on May 5 for the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic. UN OCHA requested military and civil defence assets for the transport of urgent humanitarian and medical items.

NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC) responded to UN OCHA on Friday, May 15, announcing the Alliance’s support to the request.

“Our Disaster Response Centre is coordinating requests for help as well as offer of assistance,” said General Tim Radford, Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe.

Cargo waiting to be loaded onto a C-17 aircraft

NATO’s EADRCC is an important tool in providing relief to Allies and partners. It is NATO’s principal civil emergency response mechanism in the Euro-Atlantic area. The Centre operates on a 24/7 basis, coordinating requests from NATO Allies and partners for help, as well as offers of assistance to cope with the consequences of major crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Alliance’s assistance is based on close coordination between UN OCHA, the EADRCC and Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), as well as on the availability of airlift assets from NATO Allies and partners. Staff within SHAPE from the Standing Joint Logistics Support Group have played a key role in the coordination and delivery of these essential supplies.

Story by SHAPE Public Affairs Office

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