The World Health Organization (WHO) is one of the key agencies supporting the COVID-19 response in the UAE. From its warehouse and logistics office at the IHC Dubai, WHO delivers medical relief supplies to all 6 geographic regions, supporting a total of 129 countries. WHO’s operations have expanded from 2,500 square meters to now nearly 20,000 square meters of storage infrastructure. 100 metric tons of supplies arrive and are dispatched through the warehouse every week.
“We are roughly 10 times the size that we were in 2018 and the dollar values of supplies held has grown from 5 million to 70 million,” said Robert Blanchard, WHO Team Lead for Operational Support and Logistics. “We have basically completed more shipments to more countries across more regions than we ever have before.”
The World Food Programme (WFP) also runs operations from Dubai, leveraging the UAE’s unique position as a logistics gateway and commercial hub connecting all corners of the world.
From its largest global humanitarian depot in Dubai, WFP provides emergency response and supply chain services, ensuring critical health and humanitarian cargo and personnel can move to where they are needed most.
At the start of the pandemic, the government of the UAE provided the UN 7 air freight flights as global transport connections were disrupted by lockdowns. WFP alone delivered 700 tons of health-related supplies to 72 countries in the first few months of the pandemic, in addition to leveraging supply chain partners and other contributions.
WHO have also strengthened partnerships with the government of the UAE and secured charter flights to help maximize the efficacy of their response. As a result, WHO has shipped a higher volume of medical supplies to more countries and regions in 2020 than the last 5 years combined.
UNICEF, a key delivery partner for COVAX, is rolling out the largest vaccine supply operation in history, navigating a complex web of logistics to ensure deliveries reach their destination on time.
In 2021, UNICEF received a vital boost from the Abu Dhabi-based HOPE Consortium to help them transport life-saving supplies to countries battling the COVID-19 pandemic.
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) holds one of its largest global stockpiles of supplies at the IHC Dubai, helping to serve displaced communities around the world.
The stockpile mostly consists of shelter materials and non-food items such as family tents, blankets, kitchen sets, and other relief items. It is equipped with Core Relief Items for more than 250,000 people, in addition to Safety and Security items for field operations and vehicles.
This story draws from a story published by the UN in the United Arab Emirates. Editorial support and adaptation for the UNSDG site by the UN Development Coordination Office.
To learn more about the United Nations' work in the UAE, please visit: UAE.un.org.