Sheikh Mohammed orders emergency airlift of relief supplies to Haiti

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has ordered an emergency airlift of relief supplies to Haiti, which is expected to be severely affected by Hurricane Irma.

Following HH Sheikh Mohammed’s order, which came in response to a request from the United Nations World Food Programme and UNHRD partners, a B747-400 aircraft carrying relief aid flew out of Dubai International Airport this morning to Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The plane is expected to land in Haiti on Friday, 8 September at 8:00 pm UAE time.

The aircraft to Haiti carried more than 90 metric tonnes of key relief items made available by International Humanitarian City (IHC) members. Among the relief and survival items on board are food and non-food supplies including mobile storage units, lighting equipment, water purification kits, and pool testers.

The air cargo transporting aid on behalf of the World Food Programme, Catholic Relief Services, and CARE came in response to the forecast of a monster storm, Hurricane Irma, as it bears down on South America, and is expected to hit the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Haiti, and Cuba in the coming days.

Upon hearing about Irma, believed to be one of the most powerful Atlantic storms ever recorded, and following the order of HH Sheikh Mohammed, a quick mobilisation was crucial to be able to reach the destination before any potential closure of airports. It was made possible thanks to the coordinated efforts of IHC and its members, under the Chairmanship of Her Royal Highness Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein.

HRH Princess Haya hailed the emergency airlift as a symbol of the UAE’s commitment to international humanitarian assistance. "This rapid response is the fruit of an unprecedented cooperation and proof of our robust support to vulnerable populations all over the world," she said.

This is the fifth relief plane sent in 2017 by IHC under the instructions of HH Sheikh Mohammed to crisis and disaster-stricken areas. Earlier this year, aid was airlifted to Madagascar, South Sudan, Uganda and Iraq.

Similarly, HRH Princess Haya flew last year in October 2016 to Haiti and personally oversaw the delivery and distribution of relief supplies after Hurricane Matthew had devastated the island.