Mohammed: Air bridge for urgent aid to Rohingyas

By Angel Chan

mbr 4 10 17

DUBAI 4 October 2017:  The creation of an open air bridge to provide critical relief supplies for the Rohingya refugees fleeing from the conflict in Myanmar, has been ordered by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

The air bridge, which reaffirms Dubai’s commitment to further support the emergency efforts of UN and NGO organisations, saw its first relief flight on 2 October. Additional relief flights have been scheduled for 11, 13 and 15 October 2017.

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To date, over 270 metric tons of aid have been delivered to Bangladesh, with more aid to follow. HH Sheikh Mohammed has also sanctioned the use of his private 747 with additional C130s and 757s as needed.

His Highness had previously ordered two Boeing 747 airlifts to Bangladesh on 12 and 26 September 2017 to deliver substantial humanitarian supplies provided by the UN Refugee Agency. The shipments transported family tents to provide shelter to 8,355 refugees from 1,671 families, and 24,670 tarpaulins for 123,350 beneficiaries.

Half a million Rohingya refugees have fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar in the past month amidst escalating violence and persecution, one of the fastest flows of refugees in decades. The sheer speed and size of the human tide has overwhelmed aid providers.

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The order to create the air bridge has enhanced the ability of aid organisations based in Dubai’s International Humanitarian City to respond to the Rohingya humanitarian crisis. The relief flights will be loaded with hundreds of tons of core relief items, both food and non-food, made available by UNHCR, the UAE Red Crescent, the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC), Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and World Health Organization (WHO) through the United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD) in Dubai.

The air bridge reflects the UAE’s keenness to support vulnerable populations across the world living in dire humanitarian conditions. Coordinated by the International Humanitarian City and strongly supported by its Board of Directors and Chairperson, HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, wife of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the air bridge will help provide timely and cost-efficient assistance to the Rohingya refugees.