ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia

The third batch of donation for Africa made by Chinese billionaire philanthropist Jack Ma arrived in Ethiopia on Monday.

The World Food Program (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) assigned the Ethiopian Airlines Cargo and Logistics Service as a central supply hub to operate the international COVID-19 support supplies for Africa.

Officials from the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, WFP, WHO and the Ethiopian government attended the handover of the donation, as the consignment was unloaded from a cargo aircraft of the Ethiopian Airlines.

Fitsum Abadi, the head of the airline’s cargo and logistics service, said the third batch of materials included 61,000 kilograms (134,482 pounds) of face masks and protective gear as well as ventilators.

“We will begin transporting the donation to 54 African countries beginning Tuesday,” he said.

Keeping afloat

Ethiopian Airlines has been one of the worst-hit airlines in Africa losing $550 to the COVID-19 onslaught.

“Yes we have lost the amount to global travel restrictions owing to the spread of the virus,” Fitsum said, adding “our cargo and aircraft maintenance services, however, have been performing better.”

According to him, 80% of the loss was incurred by the passenger service.

“We have been lifting cargo of agriculture products from African countries to deliver them to destinations to Europe, the Americas, Asia and Middle East,” he said, adding the cargo aircraft were bringing into Africa industrial products from various countries.

Responding to a question, Fitsum said “our cargo was doing its best to keep the airline afloat,” adding: but “we cannot say we are compensating for all the 80% of the loss incurred by our passenger service.”

Africa so far recorded more than 1,400 deaths from the coronavirus, with nearly 32,000 cases.

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