UNICEF opens humanitarian warehouse in Dubai for nutrition supplies for Southern Somalia


UNICEF opens humanitarian warehouse in Dubai for nutrition supplies for Southern Somalia

COPENHAGEN, Denmark/ HONG KONG, 4 November 2011 – UNICEF announced the opening of its first humanitarian transit hub for nutrition supplies destined for Somalia. Situated in the port of Dubai, the new warehouse will help speed up the delivery of nutrition supplies to Somalia where famine has been declared in six southern regions. An estimated 5,000 metric tons of corn soya blend flour will be moved through the warehouse monthly to Mogadishu and other worst-affected regions of the country.

In December 1999 in Uganda, a man worker prepares a high-protein corn soya blend (CSB) for distribution to women to feed their children, at the UNICEF-assisted Pabbo camp for internally displaced persons in the northern district of Gulu. UNICEF and other workers load ECD kits onto a truck, at a UNICEF warehouse in Port-au-Prince, the capital. The supplies also include care packages for children, part of a UNICEF collaboration with the United States Fund for UNICEF and varied private sector partners. Both the ECD kits and the child care packages are destined for residential child care centres and UNICEF-supported child-friendly spaces for children affected by the earthquake. Some of the men wear T-shirts bearing the UNICEF logo. [#2 IN SEQUENCE OF NINE] On 5 February 2010 in Haiti, UNICEF Early Childhood Development (ECD) kits are being distributed in Port-au-Prince, the capital, to residential child care and child-friendly' spaces that are providing services for children affected by the 12 January earthquake. The quake killed an estimated 112,000 people and left 1 million homeless. Major government and private infrastructure were destroyed or heavily damaged. In Port-au-Prince, as many as 460,000 people continue to live in makeshift settlements, despite an exodus of up to 482,000 from the devastated city. Each ECD kit, for use by up to 50 children aged 0-6 years, contains age-appropriate educational materials and learning tools to help caregivers provide a range of activities that encourage child development and social interaction. Materials include art supplies, hand puppets for story-telling, puzzle blocks and memory games, as well as water containers and soap to promote proper hygiene. UNICEF created the kit to help support the development and learning of children aged 0-6 years who are affected by emergencies. This distribution is one of the first in a plan to provide 1,000 kits to centres serving small children affected by the quake.

Up until now, sea routings have had to use the port of Mombasa exclusively as the gateway into the Horn of Africa. Mombasa will continue to be used, but shipping direct to Mogadishu will help reduce congestion in that port and hasten the delivery of the life-saving assistance.
One-and-half year old Cherline Noel, who is malnourished, eats a high-energy biscuit in a baby tent in Caradeux, a displacement camp in Port-au-Prince, the capital. The tent is managed by the NGO Union des Amis Socio-Culturels dAction en Development (UNASCAD), a UNICEF partner. Baby tents are safe havens for women with small children, where they can learn about proper infant care and receive medical assistance. [#3 IN SEQUENCE OF THREE] In March 2011 in Haiti, malnutrition remains a major threat to childrens health. Some 25 per cent of children have low birthweight, and approximately 22 per cent of children under age five suffer moderate to severe malnutrition. As many as 300,000 Haitian children suffer from chronic malnutrition, and up to half of child deaths in the country are caused by malnutrition. Complicating this situation is the countrys slow recovery from the 12 January 2010 earthquake, a disaster that killed 220,000 people and left more than a million people homeless. UNICEF is working with a variety of partners to increase access to nutrition programmes, particularly in camps for those who remain displaced. UNICEF and partners are working to educate parents about proper nutrition for their children and to distribute therapeutic foods to those in need.

There are 1.5 million children in southern Somalia who are in dire need of humanitarian assistance. There are 450,000 acutely malnourished children, including 190,000 children who are so severely malnourished that they at high risk of death within weeks if they don’t receive the necessary assistance.

Funding for the warehouse was offered by businessman Klaus-Michael Kuehne via the Kuehne Foundation. The donation, valued at HK$5.85 million (US$750,000), will cover the operational costs for the Dubai warehouse for the next six months and comes as the children’s agency faces a daunting logistical challenge in managing the technical complexities of supply channels.

On 11 November, men load emergency medical supplies at a UNICEF warehouse in the port city of Gonaïves in Artibonite Region. The supplies, which bear the UNICEF logo, are for areas affected by the cholera outbreak. By 11 November 2010 in Haiti, the cholera outbreak that began in Artibonite Department had spread to four other departments, infected 9,123 people and killed 583. One case has also been confirmed and dozens more are suspected in Port-au-Prince, the capital where some 1.3 million people live in dense camps with inadequate sanitation facilities, making them highly vulnerable to a possible epidemic. Cholera is a deadly bacterial infection spread through contaminated food and water; children are the most vulnerable. The outbreak, which began on 21 October, is the countrys biggest medical crisis since the 12 January earthquake. Even before the quake, Haitis access to sanitation was among the worst in the world, a situation that is now greatly exacerbated by ruined infrastructure. Recovery operations made significant progress in providing safe water and sanitation to quake survivors, but communicable diseases remain a threat. Flooding and other damage caused by Hurricane Tomas, which hit the country late last week, further strains ongoing response efforts. The Government and other partners are establishing cholera treatment centres throughout the country and launching a public information campaign on cholera prevention. Haitis sanitation agency, DINEPA (Direction Nationale de l'Eau Potable et de l'Assainissement), is also distributing chlorine tablets and safe water, and is testing water sources for contamination. Working with the Government, UNICEF and partners are providing medical teams, distributing water purification chemicals, antibiotics, oral rehydration salts (ORS) and therapeutic foods to affected regions; as well as accelerating cholera prevention and treatment efforts in Port-au-Prince.“The humanitarian transit hub will make a major impact in widening our pipeline and also improving the predictability of supply delivery,” said Shanelle Hall, Director of UNICEF Supply Division. “We are very grateful for the generous support of the Kuehne Foundation”.

“It will help us ensure a regular flow of nutrition supplies for the worst-affected children and their families.”

Support for the Dubai hub represents the largest contribution from any private source earmarked for logistics in the current Horn of Africa crisis. More than any other line item, logistics, meaning warehousing, storing and transporting of supplies, is the most costly line item of any emergency response.

“To me humanitarian aid, especially in Africa, is a top priority task for my foundation,” said Mr. Kuehne. “Through our Humanitarian and Emergency Logistics Platform (H.E.L.P) effectiveness and efficiency in the field of supply chain management has also been improved. I sincerely hope that the recent contribution from the Kuehne Foundation to UNICEF will help to save children lives in the areas affected by famine and drought in southern Somalia.”

Between July and October, UNICEF has sent nearly 25,000 MT of essential supplies to children in drought and famine-affected Horn of Africa.