Over four tons of medical assistance items have been airlifted by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the UN Refugee Agency, including supplies to assist theCovid-19 response in Iran.
Yesterday the Airbus A330-200 carrying the aid items arrived from Frankfurt at Imam Khomeini Airport in Tehran, according to a press release from the UNHCR.
The aircraft delivered products like masks, gloves, and vital drugs to help cope with severe shortages in Iran’s health care system. In the coming weeks, additional flights are scheduled to bring additional aid products, medication and personal protective equipment (PPE) for the release of health workers.
“These aid products are a critical lifeline for improving healthcare in Iran, helping refugees and their hosts,” Ivo Freijsen, UNHCR representative in Iran, quoted the release as saying. “We stand in solidarity with the Iranian people and are completely mobilized to help contain COVID-19 spread and minimize the effects on the most vulnerable, including refugees,” he said.
Today, the virus has spread to all 31 Iranian provinces. Refugees, most of whom live side by side in villages, towns and cities with host families, are at the same risk of catching the COVID-19 as Iranians.
UNHCR also distributed essential hygiene products such as soap and disposable paper towels to some 7,500 refugee families living in refugee settlements around the country during the early stages of the outbreak, in collaboration with the Iranian government. Assistance products were also made available to Government and NGO partners that are also active in providing assistance to refugees,
UNHCR continues to work closely with Iran’s Office for Aliens and Foreign Immigrants, the Ministry of Health and Medical Education, UN agencies like the World Health Organization, and national and international NGO partners to raise awareness among refugees and host communities about key preventive steps.
“We are grateful to our supporters, in particular the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Assistance Operations (ECHO), who have rapidly gathered in this critical moment around Iran and UN agencies,” the UNHCR representative said in Iran.
Globally, UNHCR is urgently seeking an additional US$ 33 million to improve planning, prevention, and response programs to meet the immediate public health needs of refugees and host communities caused by COVID-19 distributed around the world. In Iran, UNHCR is seeking US$ 9.5 million for its emergency measures COVID-19 and for funding the national health care network that refugees have access to.