ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia and the UN World Food Program (WFP) have opened a new hub inside Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport from which COVID-19 supplies, equipment and humanitarian workers will be transported by air across Ethiopia and Africa.
The WFP “chooses Addis Ababa as a humanitarian shipment hub for Africa to distribute medical supplies with #Ethiopian,” said Ethiopian airlines. “We are pleased to serve amidst this challenging time.”
The Addis Ababa Humanitarian Air Hub is part of a United Nations initiative move to scale up procurement and distribution of protective equipment and medical supplies for the COVID-19 response.
WFP set up the hub in Addis Ababa and began operations this week with guidance and support from the Government of Ethiopia.
“The Government is proud to host this hub in Ethiopia on behalf of the global community,” said Admasu Nebebe, Ethiopia’s State Minister of Finance.
“We are honored to be contributing this way to the global endeavor to tackle the coronavirus disease,” he added.
The first cargo flight arrived in Ethiopia on 13 April from the United Arab Emirates loaded with aprons, face shields, gloves, goggles, gowns, masks and thermometers procured by the UN World Health Organization (WHO) for distribution to 32 African countries.
“Thanks to the Government of Ethiopia, WFP worked with airport and customs authorities to establish this air hub in days,” disclosed Steven Were Omamo, WFP Ethiopia Country Director and Representative.
“Ethiopia has proven its willingness and agility to act as a regional caregiver in this time of crisis,” he said.
A team of 25 WFP aviation and logistics staff are based at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, managing the 24-hour operation.
Addis Ababa Bole International Airport [Photo File]