Coronavirus response: The United Kingdom flies medical equipment to West Africa following UN call for support
A UK Royal Air Force C-17 cargo aircraft departed for Accra, Ghana on Saturday (27 June 2020), carrying materials for the construction of a field hospital. This facility will be used for frontline aid workers in the region, to help fight the coronavirus pandemic.
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The UK flight comes in response to a request by the United Nations (UN) to NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC). The UN used this mechanism to call for NATO Allies’ help in transporting urgently needed medical items. With commercial flights disrupted and the cost of cargo flights having escalated, this support comes at a crucial time.
"NATO Allies are working together to address the COVID-19 pandemic, and to support our partners. Last month, NATO agreed to support the UN's global call for airlift assistance. I warmly welcome that the United Kingdom is the first NATO Ally to come forward with an aid flight, delivering supplies to build a field hospital in Ghana. This is a concrete demonstration of solidarity in action – NATO Allies stepping up to save lives," said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
The aircraft took off from the Royal Air Force Base at Brize Norton, in the United Kingdom on Saturday and arrived in Accra, Ghana on Sunday, 28 June. It is the first in a series of Royal Air Force flights transporting supplies for the construction of a UK aid funded field hospital on behalf of the World Food Programme (WFP), which is handling infrastructure and logistics on behalf of the UN. The field hospital weighs approximately 130 tonnes and will have the capacity to care for up to 92 people. It will be transported to Accra in approximately five flights over the coming weeks.