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Swiss donate three million masks for relief workers in Africa

The need for humanitarian aid in South Sudan was high even before the coronavirus pandemic broke out. More than one million have been displaced and live in refugee camps. Keystone/Mackenzie Knowles-coursin

The Swiss foreign ministry’s humanitarian aid unit has donated the face masks to support under-resourced relief work in developing countries.

This content was published on September 9, 2020 - 11:20
swissinfo.ch/urs

The supplies worth CHF1.5 million ($1.63 million) were handed over to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) on Tuesday, according to the ministryExternal link.

The delivery comes in response to an appeal by the Geneva-based UNHCR and is aimed at helping aid workers and healthcare staff working in difficult conditions?

“Shortages in protective equipment (…) mean that precisely at those times when people are exponentially more dependent on humanitarian aid – like during a global pandemic – it is actually impossible for them to get any assistance,” said Manuel Bessler, head of Swiss Humanitarian Aid.

Consignments are destined for the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and South Sudan, a statement said.

The Swiss supplies will notably help to boost work in 18 health facilities and hospitals in South Sudan – a conflict-ridden region with more than a million displaced people, according to a senior UNHCR representative.

Earlier this year, the Swiss government pledged CHF400 million in aid to mitigate the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic in developing countries. The Swiss Solidarity organisation also raised CHF40 million for the most vulnerable affected by the virus.

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