Coronavirus response: NATO coordination centre steps up
A planeload of medical supplies delivered to Spain and Italy from Turkey; face masks delivered to Albania and Bosnia Herzegovina from the United States; protective equipment delivered to North Macedonia from the Czech Republic; thousands of litres of disinfectant delivered to Spain from Poland - the delivery of all this medical support has been facilitated by NATO to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The coordination and delivery of urgently needed medical supplies, such as personal protective equipment, respirators and test kits, is organised by NATO’s disaster response centre following requests by Allies and partner countries. The Alliance’s Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC), set up in 1998 to deal with disasters such as earthquakes, floods and forest fires, is now at the forefront of NATO’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
While NATO does not have stockpiles of medical supplies, the centre can help with heavy transport, logistics and by matching donors with recipients. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, eleven countries have asked the NATO centre for help. Among others, the centre has facilitated the delivery of disinfectants from Ukraine, ventilators from Germany, protection equipment from Turkey, and respirators from the Czech Republic. A shipment of thousands of surgical masks from Estonia to Italy and Spain is expected in the coming days.
The NATO centre operates on a 24/7 basis and coordinates requests from 30 NATO Allies and 40 partner countries. Previous assistance included fighting forest fires in Latvia and Israel and responding to earthquakes, snowstorms and floods in Albania and Montenegro. The centre also provided relief to the United States following hurricane Katrina.