UNICEF Opens New Warehouse in Dubai for Life-Saving Supplies for Southern Somalia

Friday 11 November 2011, 5:46PM
By UNICEF New Zealand

UNICEF continues to scale up its relief efforts in East Africa by opening a new warehouse for nutrition supplies in Dubai. The warehouse will serve as a transit hub and will help speed up the delivery of life-saving supplies to heavily affected Somalia.

Currently there are 1.5 million children in southern Somalia who are in dire need of humanitarian assistance. 450,000 children are acutely malnourished, including 190,000 children who are so severely malnourished that they are at high risk of death within weeks without the necessary assistance.

Dennis McKinlay, Executive Director of UNICEF NZ said, “Having just recently visited the Horn of Africa, I saw first-hand the tremendous logistical challenge that comes with delivering emergency aid.

“Storing, and transporting supplies, are the most costly line item of any emergency response. This new warehouse, its location and function will make our aid distribution more cost efficient and effective,” said Mr McKinlay.

Before the Dubai warehouse, all of UNICEF’s emergency supplies entered the Horn of Africa through the port of Mombasa. The new Dubai warehouse will allow UNICEF to reduce congestion in that port and hasten the delivery of the life-saving assistance. 5,000 Metric tons of corn soya blend flour will be delivered to Mogadishu and other worst-affected regions of the country every month.

Funding for the warehouse was offered by businessman Klaus-Michael Kuehne via the Kuehne Foundation. The donation, valued at US$750,000, is the largest contribution from any private source allocated for logistics in the current Horn of Africa crisis and will cover the operational costs for the Dubai warehouse for the next six months.

"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."

Shanelle Hall, Director of UNICEF Supply Division says she is 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. The humanitarian transit hub will make a major impact in widening our pipeline and also improving the predictability of supply delivery,”

McKinlay adds, “There is no doubt, this is the worst famine in 60 years and we are dedicated to helping in every way possible. It is a daunting logistical challenge in managing the technical complexities of supply channels. With this new supply warehouse, UNICEF’s emergency aid will become quicker and more effective, resulting in even more children being saved from disease and starvation.”

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