May 31, 2020 by UNHCR
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has partnered with Qatar Airways to continue to deliver on its purpose of providing humanitarian relief and assistance to the displaced globally. The partnership, which is a first between both organizations, will involve a strategic collaboration whereby Qatar Airways will support with the delivery of crucial aid supplies to those most in need during these unprecedented times.
The agreement which was signed in Doha on 19th May 2020 is an important synergy between UNHCR and Qatar Airways and a clear response to the current challenges that are presented by COVID-19. The partnership which will be effective for two years will see UNHCR work closely with Qatar Airways to utilise their hub-and spoke network. By having access to a fleet of more than 250 aircraft, UNHCR will be able to deliver lifesaving support including water, medical care and hygiene materials to keep refugees, internally displaced people and host community members safe around the world.
Speaking about the current challenges presented Khaled Khalifa, Senior Advisor and Representative to the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries at UNHCR said: “As the depths of COVID-19 continue to take the world captive, we never imagined the magnitude its impact would have, or just how many lives it would touch. Our primary focus at UNHCR is to safeguard the rights and wellbeing of the most marginalized and vulnerable members of society. It is times like these when we must take action and strive to find lasting solutions which is why our partnership with Qatar Airways is crucial. With limited access to water, sanitation systems and health facilities, refugees are particularly at risk right now and that is why we are developing key responses to mitigate these challenges, alongside our respected partners Qatar Airways. Together, we must drive action.”
Qatar Airways, the national airline of the State of Qatar, links international destinations across Africa, Asia, Europe, The Americas, and Oceania from its base at Hamad International Airport and its open network will support UNHCR in reaching an extensive network of vulnerable people. The airline will provide air cargo services for up to 400,000Kgs of essential supplies, which will be distributed to UNHCR operations worldwide under its charity initiative ‘We QaRe.’
Speaking about the new partnership, Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways said: “We’re proud to join efforts with UNHCR to provide relief aid to people and communities most in need. By having a robust international network to over 160 destinations worldwide, we are pleased to be able to give a helping hand to support this great cause. We are committed to making a difference and by working together we hope to challenge the current adversities with strength, solidarity and resilience.”
While this is a great step in the right direction, UNHCR requires more support for shipping UNHCR Core Relief Items (CRIs) sometimes known as Non-Food items (NFIs) worldwide in response to the progression of COVID-19. UNHCR is seeking US$255 million to help priority countries hosting large populations of refugees to prevent and respond to the spread of COVID-19. To find out how you can support this worthwhile cause, visit: https://giving.unhcr.org/en/coronavirus/.
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