Switzerland has flown nearly 100 tonnes of relief aid, mainly medical supplies, to Venezuela to help with the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
The Swiss government chartered a cargo plane to support the efforts of nine organisations - United Nations agencies, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and NGOs - which had gathered supplies worth CHF2 million ($2.1 million) to help people in Venezuela.
The relief aid included personal protective equipment for use in combating Covid-19, medicine, emergency equipment, hygienic articles and equipment to prepare drinking water to help around 1.2 million people, the Swiss foreign ministry said on June 19.
The organisations shipped the relief supplies to Switzerland where they were reloaded at Zurich Airport and flown to Caracas on June 19.
A team from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit was also on board. Along with representatives from the Swiss embassy in Caracas and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the team supervised the handing over of the supplies to the organisations taking part on the ground.
“The operation demonstrates Switzerland's firm commitment to humanitarian principles and practice. It also makes it possible for Switzerland to lend support to extremely vulnerable populations in a highly polarised environment,” the ministry said.
Since 2017, the Swiss authorities have provided aid worth CHF24 million to alleviate suffering in Venezuela. This year, it has allocated an additional CHF12 million in response to the humanitarian needs in the South American nation. The aim is to also have an impact on the neighbouring countries, where millions of Venezuelan citizens reside.
Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Switzerland has delivered relief supplies to several countries in Europe, Africa and Asia. In total, the Alpine nation has earmarked over CHF203 million for the global fight against Covid-19.