We stand in full solidarity with Iran during pandemic: European Commissioner

July 11, 2020 - 17:44

TEHRAN – Janez Lenarcic, the European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, has said that the Commission will stand in full solidarity with the Iranian people and support ongoing efforts for delivering equipment to help the country in battle against the coronavirus.

 “We stand in full solidarity with the Iranian people at this difficult time. Our thoughts are with all those affected by this pandemic and to the first responders on the ground. Our support will help ongoing efforts in Iran deliver urgent life-saving protective medical gear and other vital medical supplies to those most in need. Global solidarity is essential in the fight against coronavirus,” he noted, according to un.org.ir.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has flown 55 tons of vital medical supplies to Iran, thanks to the newly established Humanitarian Air Bridge, an initiative by the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) and part of the EU’s global “Team Europe” coronavirus response.

The consignment arrived on an Emirates Boeing 777-200 flight from Frankfurt, Germany, to Imam Khomeini Airport in Tehran, on July 9, containing life-saving medical items procured by UNHCR. The supplies include N95 masks, disposable face shields, and portable ventilators that will support Iran in its fight against the pandemic.

 “The global supply chain was brought to a near halt by the pandemic. This Humanitarian Air Bridge flight arrives at a critical juncture when needs in Iran remain high, and more international support and solidarity is required to bring in medical supplies to help those fighting the coronavirus,” said Ivo Freijsen, the UNHCR Representative to Iran.

The EU Humanitarian Air Bridge was set up in early May 2020 to help countries respond to the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, affecting the flow of humanitarian aid and workers.

Iran needs more support to maintain free primary health services

Iran ramped up its production of essential medical equipment, and independent entrepreneurs – refugees included – have redirected their efforts towards contributing to the national COVID-19 response.

However, the coronavirus shows no sign of abating and, with a socio-economic environment placed under additional strain, Iran needs more support to be able to help the increasing number of people affected by the virus, including refugees.

There are close to one million refugees in Iran and 1.5-2 million undocumented Afghans who have access to free primary health services and similarly free COVID-19 related testing, treatment, and hospitalization, just like nationals.

In Iran, UNHCR is seeking $16.2 million for its COVID-19 emergency, while requires an additional $98.7 million to support Iran in maintaining and sustaining its commendable inclusive refugee policies, under the umbrella of the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees (SSAR).

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