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ATLANTA: April 13, 2018. The UPS Foundation has awarded grants and in-kind support of over US$16 million to non-profit, NGOs and United Nations agencies for humanitarian relief, community resilience and safety programs worldwide.

In 2016 UPS says it invested nearly 2.7 million volunteer hours and more than US$116 million in global communities.

In addition to providing support for disaster response, preparedness and recovery, supply chains and improving global road safety, the UPS Foundation is expanding its work with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and Zipline, a California-based robotics company, to deliver life-saving blood, medicines and vaccines to remote communities in Rwanda via drone.

ZIPLINE droneSince October 2016 the partnership has made more than 4,000 drone deliveries of over 7,000 units of blood to remote hospitals across the country. As a result of its success, “the world’s first national medical drone delivery network” is being extended throughout Rwanda this year.

“This groundbreaking partnership with Gavi and Zipline provides access to life-saving medical supplies in only minutes rather than hours for millions of men, women and children in need,” said Eduardo Martinez, president of The UPS Foundation. “With this expansion, the reach of the drone program will double from s million to 12 million people across Rwanda. Additionally, the initiative will expand to deliver basic medications, vaccines, and medical supplies to hospitals and health clinics via drone.”

Gavi will also receive US$290 million in the U.S. 2018 Fiscal Year Appropriations Bill that will be used to help immunize 300 million more children between 2016 and 2020, and prevent five to six million additional deaths. The U.S. was one of the original six donors supporting Gavi’s launch in 2000 that also included a US$750 million five-year pledge from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“Gavi is grateful to the United States for continuing to invest in vaccines, one of the most cost-effective ways to save lives, improve health and ensure long-term prosperity,” commented CEO Dr. Seth Berkley.

Tanzania has announced it would launch the world’s largest drone delivery service with Zipline in the first quarter of 2018, with a planned 2,000 flights day to over one thousand health facilities across the country.

Zipline has also launched what it claims is the world’s fastest commercial drone capable of flying at a top speed of 128 km/h, with a round trip range of 160 kilometers carrying up to 1.75 kilos of cargo. The company says the new airplane is capable of flying four times faster than the average quadcopter drone and can serve an area 200 times as large.

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