July 28, 2020: Addis Ababa Humanitarian Hub, one of the logistics hubs of World Food Programme (WFP) has marked 100 days of its operation on July 23.

Officially inaugurated in April 2020, the hub has handled 870 metric tonnes (MT) or almost 6,300 cubic metres of cargo from around the world and dispatched it to all 54 African countries. Movements took place on behalf of many of WFP's key partners, including the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.

As per a WFP article on its website, the first box containing Covid-19 medical supplies landed at Bole International Airport in early March, labelled in Chinese, which mentioned %u2018when people are determined, they can overcome anything'.

At the hub, the dedicated and determined team work nonstop, sending critically needed masks, testing kits, protective suits, face shields, and much more across Africa.

As Covid-19 surged around the world in spring, the WFP's supply chain team in Ethiopia was ready to jump into action. The team's long-standing emergency preparedness measures meant they were ready when the first call came from the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation. They had donated medical equipment and supplies to Africa in what was to become an enormous logistics undertaking. With that first donation and distribution, its delicate coordination on the ground and in the air, the Addis Ababa Humanitarian Hub was born.

Critical to its success is the close partnership between the government of Ethiopia, Ethiopian Airlines, and WFP that has allowed for a quick response to the growing crisis. The hub, which was the first of WFP's global network of hubs, has expanded during those 100 days, to include critical support functions like cargo tracking, customer service and information management.

When asked about achievements during these 100 days, the air hub operations coordinator Joana from Portugal said, "Look around. Setting this operation up from scratch, developing contracts, building the team, and coordinating a global operation with dozens of partners is remarkable."

As Covid-19 gains momentum in Africa, the Addis Ababa Humanitarian Air Hub is only going to get busier.

Besides Ethiopia, WFP has logistics hubs in Liege, Italy, Dubai, China, Ghana, Malaysia, Panama, and South Africa.

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