An aircraft carrying around 23 metric tonnes of life-saving medicines and supplies from the UN health agency landed in Afghanistan's capital Kabul Monday.
The shipment, which is among the first humanitarian aid to arrive at Kabul airport since operations were disrupted on August 15, was flown by a Qatar Airways flight, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
"As health needs increase in Afghanistan, we must move quickly to address the shortages in medical supplies to keep life-saving health services running. I thank Qatar for its generous and timely support, which has allowed the WHO to replenish depleted stocks and meet the needs of the most vulnerable Afghans," said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO.
A second flight donated by Qatar is expected to arrive later this week, carrying more WHO medical supplies.
Together, the two shipments, which contain essential medicines such as insulin, medical consumables, trauma and surgery kits, and Covid-19 testing kits, will address the urgent health needs of 1.45 million people and provide for 5,400 major and minor surgeries. They will be distributed to 280 health facilities and 31 public Covid laboratories across Afghanistan.
The supplies have been shipped from the WHO suppliers' facilities in Europe to Qatar and onward to Kabul in collaboration with the operations and logistic teams of Qatar Airways and the Government of the State of Qatar.
The WHO is exploring options to expedite further shipments of health supplies to Afghanistan.
The establishment of a reliable humanitarian air bridge continues to be a pressing need to ensure timely movement of humanitarian aid and personnel to respond to the evolving situation.
The two flights from Qatar will mean that the WHO will have airlifted 131 metric tonnes of supplies since August 30, which are enough to cover the urgent health needs of 2.43 million people and provide for around 19,000 major and minor surgeries.