World body’s refugee agency has flown out Dh8.5m worth of vital supplies through airbridge facility in emirate as part of continuing relief efforts
Dubai: The United Nations Refugee Agency or UNHCR will on Monday dispatch its seventh consignment through Dubai’s airbridge, sending out relief supplies worth Dh1.22 million to Rohingya refugees stranded in Bangladesh.
Set up by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in September, the airbridge offers relief agencies based in Dubai free airlifts through special aircraft.
This is UNHCR’s second airlift this month and will rush 100 metric tonnes of kitchen utensils, cooking supplies and tents to refugees in the relief camps at Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh.
Last week, the UN agency had dispatched another relief consignment of 100 metric tonnes.
More than 620,000 of the Muslim Rohingya refugees have fled for their lives into Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district since August this year, when the Myanmar army launched a sweeping crackdown on Rohingya rebels in northern Rakhine state.
Since then, several hundred metric tonnes of relief material have been dispatched through the Dubai airbridge, with UNHCR alone supplying 472 metric tonnes of goods, worth 8.5 million.
“We are grateful of Shaikh Mohammad for donating the airlifts to Bangladesh, which has helped us continue the relief supplies for the Rohingya refugees. So far we have dispatched seven airlifts through the special flight provided by His Highness,” said Richard Musaki, UNHCR’s associate global supply officer.
The consignment to be dispatched on Monday includes six trailer-loads of goods that can support some 13,450 families.
“So far we have sent Dh26 million worth of goods weighing 1,541 metric tonnes through Dubai airbridge as well as through commercial flights and sea shipments supporting around 365,000 refugees in Bangladesh. This is just from Dubai, excluding the shipments and airlifts sent by UNHCR from other hubs,” added Musaki, who is based in International Humanitarian City (IHC) Dubai.
He said that the agency’s earlier consignments included family tents, blankets, mosquito nets, sleeping mats, buckets, solar lamps, jerry cans etc.
The UNHCR’s 17,000 square metre warehouse at IHC is one of its largest distribution centres with a capacity to support 200,000 refugees at any given time.
Apart from UNHCR, World Food Programme (WFP), World Health Organisation (WHO) and Emirates Red Crescent are also contributing to the relief efforts being organised in the UAE, providing food, medical supplies and logistic support.
Shaikh Mohammad has sanctioned the use of his private 747 aircraft with additional air transport missions being conducted through C130s and 757s as needed.
IHC is one of the world’s biggest humanitarian hubs housing dozens of aid organisations including nine UN agencies such as WFP and WHO.