A Royal Air Force C-17 cargo aircraft departed for Accra, Ghana on Saturday carrying materials for the construction of a field hospital.
NATO say that this facility will be used for frontline aid workers in the region, to help fight the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a Royal Air Force news release on the topic:
“Operated by 99 Squadron, the C-17 Globemaster is the RAF’s long-range, heavy-lift strategic transport aircraft that can operate close to a potential area of operations for combat, peacekeeping or humanitarian missions worldwide.”
The UK flight comes in response to a request by the United Nations (UN) to NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC).
“The UN used this mechanism to call for NATO Allies’ help in transporting urgently needed medical items. With commercial flights disrupted and the cost of cargo flights having escalated, this support comes at a crucial time.”
“NATO Allies are working together to address the COVID-19 pandemic, and to support our partners. Last month, NATO agreed to support the UN’s global call for airlift assistance. I warmly welcome that the United Kingdom is the first NATO Ally to come forward with an aid flight, delivering supplies to build a field hospital in Ghana. This is a concrete demonstration of solidarity in action – NATO Allies stepping up to save lives,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
International Development Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said:
“These flights will play a crucial role in the global battle against coronavirus, helping to stop the spread of the disease globally. Aid workers are on the frontline of the coronavirus response, and it is critical they are protected so they can continue their life-saving work. This is the best of British – the UK military and UK aid – working together to solve a global problem for the benefit of all of us. No one is safe until we are all safe.”
The aircraft is the first in a series of Royal Air Force flights transporting supplies for the construction of a UK aid funded field hospital on behalf of the World Food Programme (WFP), which is handling infrastructure and logistics on behalf of the UN, say the organisation.
NATO say that the field hospital weighs approximately 130 tonnes and will have the capacity to care for up to 92 people. It will be transported to Accra in approximately five flights over the coming weeks, say the Royal Air Force.