National Air Cargo has been contracted by the government of the Republic of Haiti to operate five cargo flights carrying Covid-19 combat relief supplies which includes medicines, healthcare products and personal protective equipment (PPE).

The first of the five relief flights landed on Thursday (May 7) at Toussaint Louverture International Airport in Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti. The cargo flight, a Boeing 747-400, carried critical supplies sourced from China, flew from Shanghai Pudong International Airport with a technical stop at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport in Alaska.

National Air Cargo flights make a technical stop at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport in Alaska flying from Shanghai to Port-au-Prince
National Air Cargo flights make a technical stop at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport in Alaska flying from Shanghai to Port-au-Prince

Jovenel Moise, the President of Haiti; Joseph Jouthe, the Prime Minister and Marie Greta Roy Clement, the Minister of Public Health and Population, received the flight at the airport.

This flight is the first of many in a project coordinated by local officials to bring in more than $18 million worth of supplies to Haiti.

“We received 500 full beds, 100 respirators and their accessories, 100 trolleys, 250,000 visors to protect doctors, 200,000 surgical masks, 50,000 N95 masks for nursing staff, 137,760 protective glasses,” said Marie Greta Roy Clement. The minister added that 463 tonnes more of equipment and supplies are scheduled to arrive in the remaining four flights.

The supplies will be used to directly equip the citizens of Haiti with proper protective equipment to ensure that the hospitals and medical facilities were fully stocked in the event they experience a spike in Covid-19 cases.

The remaining four flights by National are scheduled to land at Port-au-Prince on 10, 12, 13, and 14 of May. National is deploying two of its B747-400Fs to urgently move these critical relief supplies from China to Haiti on back to back basis.

The government of Haiti directly initiated the contract with National for this mission. Prime Minister Jouthe, his finance minister Michael Patrick Boisvert and Marie Greta Roy Clement were involved in getting this critical mission started so quickly.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported Friday (May 8) a total of 101 confirmed cases of Covid-19, and 12 deaths, in Haiti as of Thursday (May7).

According to a statement from the United Nations Economic and Social Council, which held its Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti on April 29, the Covid-19 outbreak could trigger a humanitarian catastrophe in Haiti, endangering many years of hard-won progress in the Caribbean nation.

The Group expressed its concern that least developed countries such as Haiti will be disproportionately affected given the weak health infrastructure and underlying social and economic inequalities characterising these countries. It called for immediate action to address health and humanitarian needs, alongside ongoing efforts to promote sustainable development and resilience to future shocks.

The government’s decision to quickly deploy cargo flights to bring PPEs for healthcare staff is in response to the severe shortage personal protection equipment. The Ad Hoc Advisory Group welcomed the government’s prompt response to the crisis.

Since the outbreak of Covid-19, National Air Cargo has been contracted by public medical emergency response units of various countries to support procuring and delivering urgent medical supplies meant for Covid-19. It has been flying in the past few weeks for the White House’s Project Airbridge by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).