GENEVA — The World Health Organization says its first shipment of medical supplies for invasion-hit Ukraine will arrive in neighboring Poland on Thursday, calling for a humanitarian corridor to ease delivery in the face of a crisis with “ordinary civilians being broken” in the fighting.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the shipment includes 36 metric tons (40 U.S. tons) of supplies for trauma care and emergency surgery to help 1,000 patients as well as other supplies to meet the needs of 150,000 people.
He said WHO’s prepositioned supplies in the capital, Kyiv are currently unavailable. He did not elaborate, but the agency alluded to logistical problems amid the fighting after Russia’s invasion on Feb. 24.
“There is an urgent need to establish a corridor to ensure humanitarian workers and supplies have safe and continuous access to reach people in need,” Tedros said.
Dr. Jarno Habicht, WHO’s country representative in Ukraine, said it was “difficult to find drivers” to deploy supplies. The agency said some of the supplies include treatment for noncommunicable diseases, insulin, and hypertension medication, as well as things like tetanus antitoxin.
The WHO emergencies chief, Dr. Michael Ryan, said other supplies included sutures, skin graft equipment, and “equipment for doing amputations, for bone grafting, for bone wiring…”
“I think this gives you the graphic nature of what’s happening,” Ryan said. “These are ordinary civilians being broken and the health system is going to have to put them back together again.”