Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, High Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has ordered an air bridge to supply aid to the victims of the most powerful earthquake to hit Nepal since 1934, claiming more than 4,100 lives and displacing thousands of people.

Sheikh Mohammed also directed instructions for a donation of 100,000 units of “Salma Halal Food” the ready-to-eat meals dedicated for emergency responses.

The first Boeing 747 took off this morning from Dubai heading to Kathmandu airport with the first 90 metric tonnes of aid. The total volume of shipment that shall be sent through the air bridge will exceed 450 metric tonnes and include aid items consisting of emergency health kits, water purification units, water storage and distribution units, blankets, tents, tarpaulin, jerry cans, buckets, plastic sheets, solar lamps, ICT equipment and food items.

The International Humanitarian City, IHC, Dubai is running the air bridge in coordination with UN agencies, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent, and a number of international humanitarian organisations, to mobilise the relief supplies.

The devastating earthquake has resulted in a shortage of potable water and food and a high hygiene risk, forcing the government to seek international assistance including rescue and medical teams.

As an immediate response to the devastating disaster, the UNHCR, IFRC and 9 UNHRD’s partners including World Health Organisation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy, World Vision International, Save the Children, UNICEF, Catholic Relief Services Adventist Development and Relief Agency and World Food Program are sending aid shipments via the air bridge.

Ambassador Hamad Al Shamsi, IHC board member, took the lead in supervising the operations run at the airport, and said, “The UAE leaders and people are well known for their humanitarian commitment and through the IHC, the biggest global logistics hub, we continue to lend a hand to people facing crises around the world”.

“The massive destruction Nepal people are facing requires immediate action and that’s what we count on through the support of the IHC members’ and all humanitarian agencies locally and internationally,” he added.

Shaima AL Zarooni, IHC CEO leading the operations’ of the taskforce, said, “We are honoured to follow the UAE leaders’ directions and be part of this humanitarian initiative. The kind contribution of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum will enable aid to reach the affected people and save more lives.”

According to latest reports, the Government of Nepal requested international assistance, including search and rescue capacity, medical teams, supplies and tenting for hospitals, heavy equipment for rubble removal and helicopters for transport of the injured and access to blocked areas.