Plan International has airlifted 10,000 protective masks into the Central African Republic (CAR) to support the war-torn country in combating COVID-19.
The aid cargo was sent on a humanitarian flight organised by a group of NGOs, including Plan International, with support from the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations department (ECHO).
The plane left Lyon for Bangui this morning carrying PPE and medical supplies contributed by 13 international aid agencies.
CAR has been unstable since its independence from France in 1960. Fighting and instability have rendered its health systems fragile, putting the vast majority of its population at risk from the pandemic.
People in conflict contexts at extra risk
Cecile Terraz, Plan International’s Director of Logistics and Procurement said: “Populations living in conflict contexts such as CAR are acutely vulnerable to the direct and secondary impacts of COVID-19. Refugees and displaced populations are particularly exposed. By chartering a special flight in the wake of lockdown and flight restrictions, the international aid organisations have demonstrated that they can pool expertise and resources and help deliver lifesaving aid to help millions in need.”
Refugees and displaced populations are particularly exposed.
“Plan International is significantly scaling up its aid-delivery and will be shipping 1.3 metric tonnes of PPE to 12 countries within the next two weeks using commercial airlines.”
The organisation is raising €100 million to protect some of the world’s most vulnerable children and their communities from the impacts of COVID-19. Plan International’s response, covering more than 50 countries, is focused on assisting children - particularly girls, who are disproportionately affected by the crisis
PPE vital to combat COVID-19
“Access to PPE is also vital for our ground operations in the communities to continue. COVID-19 is nothing like the humanitarian sector has experienced in both scale and impact. We are currently navigating complex challenges such as scarcity of protective equipment, lockdown restrictions and logistical hurdles in moving aid amidst closed borders. Advance planning and procurement of key supplies has enabled us to stay at the forefront of delivering critical COVID-19 relief to those in desperate need,” said Ms Terraz.
The humanitarian flight to CAR effort has been led by French-based interagency logistics network, Réseau Logistique Humanitaire (Humanitarian Logistics Network – RLH), which is a consortium of 10 NGOs, including Plan International, working together.
The network is coordinating the purchase and transport of essential medical equipment for field operations to fight the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide.
“Through the chartering of humanitarian aircraft, the RLH is demonstrating the fundamental need for NGOs to work together to be faster and more efficient in such key moments. This unprecedented large-scale operation is possible thanks to the demonstrated capacity and reputation that the RLH has developed over the years and through the vital support of our partner ECHO,” said Ms Terraz.