Sierra Leone: First UN COVID-19 Humanitarian Flight Commences Operations to Sierra Leone to Ease Transportation of Critical Medical Supplies

press release

The first United Nations humanitarian "Solidarity Flight" landed in Freetown today to commence the transportation of experts as well as a shipment of essential medical supplies to help in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The flight started operation in other African countries in April 2020, delivering critical medical supplies and equipment from the Addis Ababa logistics hub. And, for the first time during the current COVID-19 pandemic, Sierra Leone is also benefitting from the humanitarian flight by the United Nations to overcome the ongoing challenges of airfreighting supplies and personnel.

In this first trip to Sierra Leone, the aircraft facilitated the transportation of United Nations personnel who have been stranded in the country.

"Air travel across the world has been halted by the ongoing pandemic which has consequently limited movement of people and critical essential supplies. With the start of the United Nations Humanitarian Flight to Sierra Leone we are hopeful that it will help to alleviate some of the major challenges the country experienced in the past few months since the pandemic," said Evan Liyosi, World Health Organization Representative in Sierra Leone.

"Until the resumption of normal commercial air transportation, we will rely on the flight for the delivery of in kind donations, human resources and essential humanitarian supplies that are urgently needed in the country," said Mr Liyosi.

All necessary arrangements have been instituted and technical protocols put in place by the government of Sierra Leone to ensure safe reception of passengers and essential supplies on arrival. The United Nations in Sierra Leone commends the Government of Sierra Leone for its political commitment and collaboration with the UN in the COVID-19 response.

"These flights will ensure the continuation of ongoing humanitarian responses to the COVID-19 pandemic by providing air links for dispatching essential medical and humanitarian cargo and transporting health workers to the front lines of the pandemic," said Housainou Taal, World Food Programme Representative in Sierra Leone.

For more information please contact:

World Health Organization - Sierra Leone

Saffea Gborie, Communications Officer

gboriesa [at] who.int +232 76 777878

World Food Programme - Sierra Leone

Francis Boima, Communications Officer

francis.boima [at] wfp.org +232 76 750587

About WFP

The United Nations World Food Programme is the world's largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies, building prosperity and supporting a sustainable future for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change. Learn more at www.wfp.org.

About WHO

WHO is the United Nations' specialized agency for health. It is an inter-governmental organization and works in collaboration with its Member States usually through the Ministries of Health. The WHO is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends. Learn more at www.who.int.

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