Dubai's WHO logistics hub: A lifeline for 20 million people in 2023

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In 2023, the World Health Organization's (WHO) logistics hub in Dubai has played a pivotal role in providing humanitarian aid worth over $21 million to more than 20 million people affected by various crises.

From the Turkey-Syria earthquake to the Sudan conflict, Libya floods, and the ongoing Yemen crisis, the global logistics center, situated in Dubai's International Humanitarian City, has been at the forefront of emergency response in times of humanitarian disasters.


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According to a report released on Friday, in 2023 alone, the Global Logistics Center facilitated 16 charter flights, delivering a staggering 1,000 metric tons of aid.

This year also marks an unprecedented demand for humanitarian assistance, with over 363 million people worldwide requiring aid, primarily due to disease outbreaks and limited access to essential medicines.

Conflicts, fragile healthcare systems, natural disasters, climate change, and infectious disease outbreaks have pushed more individuals into the crosshairs of health threats.

In response to these intersecting emergencies, the WHO's Global Logistics Center stands at the forefront of humanitarian response, delivering critical health supplies to vulnerable populations.

In-kind operational support, including $4.2 million for emergency air charters, has enabled WHO's health emergency program to bolster its supply chain, ensuring faster delivery to those in need.

The center's demand skyrocketed in 2020, driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, accounting for over 75 perecent of all PPE dispatched globally by WHO in the first 90 days of the response.

This facility has served 141 countries across all WHO regions, providing a comprehensive range of medical items vital for saving lives. From diagnostic tests to trauma supplies, essential medicines to ambulances, it has become a critical resource for emergency response.

In 2021, the focus shifted from primarily COVID-19 supplies to addressing a broader array of health emergencies, including conflict-related crises, natural disasters, and infectious disease outbreaks.

Notably, in February 2023, when a devastating earthquake struck Turkey and Syria, the WHO Global Logistics Center sprang into action.

Within 72 hours, it delivered 230 metric tons of aid valued at $1.9 million to assist 1.5 million affected individuals.

The center's impact extended to Sudan, where it coordinated four consecutive charter flights delivering $2.8 million in vital health supplies.

Yemen, facing prolonged conflict and healthcare challenges, remains a top priority, with over $8 million in health supplies delivered in 2023.

Today, the logistics hub's dedicated team continues to prepare shipments for Afghanistan, Chad, Sudan, and Yemen.

Recent airlifts also rushed supplies to Libya following catastrophic floods.

By mid-2023, operations at the logistics hub surpassed the total emergency requests received in all of 2020, averaging more than two charter flights per month in support of acute health emergencies.

With over $20 million in health supplies delivered to over 70 countries, the center is on track to make a significant impact on humanitarian assistance in 2023.

Dr. Ahmed al-Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, expressed gratitude to donors, the International Humanitarian City in Dubai, the Government of Dubai, the Government of the United Arab Emirates, other UN organizations, and WHO country offices for their collaborative efforts in this vital humanitarian mission.

"“The supplies delivered by WHO’s logistics hub in Dubai have been a lifeline for millions across the world," he said.

Since 2018, WHO's logistics hub in Dubai has delivered over 2,000 shipments, totaling 12,000 metric tons, with a value exceeding US$185 million.

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