DUBAI // A United Nations relief plane carrying tents and kitchen equipment to Somali refugees left yesterday from Dubai for Addis Ababa.
It was the first of seven planes that will fly more than 20,000 tents and other relief material to camps in Ethiopia and Kenya, to where refugees are fleeing from devastating droughts.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in the UAE said this was part of a series of emergency airlifts to assist millions in the Horn of Africa who have been threatened with starvation in one of the worst droughts in decades.
"About 2,100 tents left Dubai on a UNHCR-chartered Boeing 747 on Monday morning from Dubai," said Firas Kayal, the external relations officer at the agency.
"We are preparing for seven flights with shipments of 20,000 tents, 8,064 kitchen sets and 13 vehicles to be airlifted to Somali refugees in Ethiopia."
He added that it was difficult to specify the dates the flights will depart, but he did not rule out sending more shipments.
The stockpile in Dubai International Humanitarian City is the UN refugee agency's largest.