BELGRADE, March 27, 2020 – The first aircraft carrying critical medical equipment arrived last night Belgrade, Serbia’s capital, in an effort by the European Union (EU) and UNDP to support the country to cope with the Covid-19 epidemic. The supplies such as respirators, protective equipment and diagnostic tests will be distributed to the healthcare facilities across the country.
The transportation of the medical supplies are part of a recent EU - UNDP €7.5 million initiative to enhance Serbia’s preparedness to cope with disasters and emergencies and build resilience to crises and shocks at national and local level. Funds and activities are being realigned to immediately tackle the corona virus crisis.
“The virus knows no boundaries and we are all facing the same challenge,” said EU Ambassador to Serbia Sem Fabrizi. “This first EU plane which arrived from China is a first deliverable of this package, but there is much more to come. We are facing difficult times, across Europe, but solidarity will help us win this battle together”.
This new initiative builds on the successful partnership during the migration crisis in 2017, when the EU and UNDP helped the most impacted municipalities in Serbia to improve public health infrastructure, services and community cohesion, benefiting both the local population and migrants and refugees.
“UNDP has been supporting countries around the world since the very early stages of this crisis. We are glad to have been able to help the Government of Serbia secure the much needed medical supplies which can save many lives”, said UNDP Resident Representative Francine Pickup, highlighting that EU’s immediate response and provision of funds was key to secure the transportation of this important shipment. “In parallel with emergency response, we are ramping up the socio-economic recovery of Serbia,” added Pickup.