Ethiopian Airlines dispatches Covid-19 supplies to Africa

Ethiopian dispatches Covid-19 supplies to Africa

Ethiopian Airlines Cargo and Logistics Services has started transporting the medical supplies donated by the government of China to 12 African countries.

With the view of providing urgently needed support to African countries in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic the latest batch of medical supplies, donated by China, arrived at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport on Thursday by Ethiopian Cargo.

The 40 tons of medical supplies include facial mask, disposable protective clothing, forehead thermometers, medical protective googles, gloves and shoe covers. The medical supplies will be flown to 12 African countries by Ethiopian Cargo.  

Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia, Tan Jian said that COVID-19 is an attack against the human race. “China-Africa friendship and cooperation is a telling testament that we are together. When China was an epicentre of the virus we received solidarity and support from Africa. AU leaders, African governments and people and institutions offered their support and solidarity to China. We remember and cherries that. We now reciprocate that,” Ambassador Jian said. “A friend in need is a friend indeed. We appreciate African support,” he added.

According to the Ambassador, there are 3000 African nationals living in Hubei province and there was only one case of contraction. “He was treated well and he recovered. There are many Ethiopian students studying in Hubei but none were infected.”

Ambassador Jian said China will highlight the health cooperation in the Belt and Road Initiative. “We will build the silk road of health. That is our plan.” 

Ambassador Jian expressed his gratitude to Ethiopian Airlines for not suspending flights to China. “There is not a single confirmed case imported from China and you made the right decision,” he told Tewolde Gebremariam, Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO.

“Addis Ababa is the aviation hub of Africa and Ethiopian Airlines is the link between China and Africa. The airline is passing through difficult time but it was behind us and we will boost trade and tourism between China and Africa. And Ethiopian airlines will benefit from that. Through solidarity we will prevail. China Africa cooperation will emerge stronger.” 

Mafa Sejanamane, Ambassador of Lesotho, who delivered a speech on behalf of African Ambassadors based in Addis Ababa, recognized the generous support of the Chinese government to African countries in combating the worst humanitarian crisis in the century.  “We are very pleased to find that the Chinese government and Chinese people are in the forefront of the struggle. Some of our countries do not have all the resources to combat the global pandemic,” Sejanamane said.

Dawit Yirgu, director general of the Asian Affairs at Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Africans are grateful for China for the support and solidarity at this difficult moment. “Africa and China are all weather friends. Solidarity is the bedrock of this partnership,” dawit said.

 “When the corona virus outbreak occurred in China Africa stood in solidarity with China. We are pleased that Ethiopian Airline is playing an important role in the transportation of medical supplies and other forms of assistance to Africa. And Addis Ababa Bole International Airport is serving as a hub for transhipment of this supplies.”

Tewolde said on his part that China was demonstrating its strong partnership with Africa. “This shows how Africa should cooperate with larger economies like China. China needs Africa and Africa needs China,” Tewolde said.

Tewolde said Ethiopian Cargo and Logistics Services was demonstrating its capability in distributing lifesaving medical supplies. “In February, we were criticized for not suspending flights to China. But now this cooperation shows how important China is to Africa.”

Tewolde assured Chinese officials that the medical supplies will be delivered in a short period of time to the respective countries.

Ethiopian Cargo and Logistics Services has 12 dedicated cargo aircraft (12 B777s and 2 B737-800). The state-of-the-art cargo terminal has the capacity to handle 1.2 million tons of cargo per annum. [Reporter]