NEW YORK (November 2, 2011)—This afternoon the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made a special visit to the UNICEF global Supply Center in Copenhagen to help maintain the world's attention on the humanitarian crisis in East Africa, which has left more than 320,000 children so severely malnourished that they are at imminent risk of death unless they get urgent help.
UNICEF's supply center includes a warehouse the size of three football fields where essential supplies for children around the globe are sourced, packed and distributed. These include food, water, special nutritional supplies for the most malnourished children, vaccines, education materials and emergency medical kits.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were accompanied on the visit by the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Denmark. Their Royal Highnesses arrived at UNICEF's Supply Center in Copenhagen's Freeport at 2:30pm and were welcomed by Shanelle Hall, Director of UNICEF's Supply Center. The Duchess and Crown Princess were given flowers by Amanda Kofoed and Maryam Abdullah, both 10 years old, who are children of UNICEF staff.
Both couples then received a briefing on the desperate situation in the region from Peter Hailey, Chief of Nutrition for UNICEF in Somalia. He told them about the reality for many children and their parents, who often have to walk for 25 days to find food.
They then saw for themselves how the lifesaving aid supplies are sourced and packed, ready to be sent to East Africa. They met four packing staff who showed them how different medical provisions—including essential medicines and emergency surgical equipment—are packed. Both Royal couples joined the staff on the packing line and helped to pack boxes of emergency health kits, each of which will provide life-saving supplies to over 1000 people.
The Duke and Duchess and the Crown Prince and Princess then toured the warehouse, seeing the huge variety of supplies that are sent to emergencies around the world, including ready-to-use therapeutic food for severely malnourished children under five years old and supplementary food to support-families, emergency health kits, vaccines and water supplies including water purification tablets.
At the end of their visit the Duke of Cambridge said "An incredible amount is being done. UNICEF is leading the way and doing a fantastic job, but sadly there's lots more still to do, and that's why we're here today."
The Duchess of Cambridge talked more about the purpose of their visit, saying "We really hope to put the spotlight back on this crisis."
The Duke of Cambridge then added a heartfelt appeal: "Anyone who can do anything to help, please do."
The Duke and Duchess went on to Copenhagen Airport to see the supplies being loaded onto flights provided by British Airways and UPS, bound for Nairobi.
Since the visit of both Royal couples to UNICEF's Supply Center was announced on 26 October, UNICEF has already seen a huge response to the appeal for donations to the emergency. Shanelle Hall, Director of Supply Division commented, “It has been wonderful to welcome the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Crown Prince and Princess of Denmark to UNICEF's Supply Center and to show them the scale of the vital operation delivering supplies to malnourished children and their families. Their visit has already helped to draw the world's attention back to the scale of the current crisis and we hope it will help us to raise the resources needed to continue our work in the region.”
To respond to the remaining needs of children in East Africa for 2011, UNICEF still requires US$40 million. The financial needs for 2012 are US$402.8 million, including US$300 million for UNICEF Somalia, in order to ensure that provision of life saving therapeutic and supplementary feeding can continue.
To donate to the East Africa Appeal please visit www.eastafricacrisis.org
"For months since the drought became a catastrophe for millions of children across East Africa, we have been asking ourselves, 'how loudly do we have to yell, and from what mountaintop,' for people to see and feel the urgency of this crisis," said U.S. Fund for UNICEF President and CEO Caryl M. Stern. "We are tremendously grateful for the attention the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are bringing to children in dire need across the region, and for broadcasting the critical message that it is not too late to save their lives."
UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization in the world. Working in more than 150 countries, UNICEF provides children with health care, clean water, nutrition, education, emergency relief, and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF's work through fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States.
UNICEF is at the forefront of efforts to reduce child mortality worldwide. There has been substantial progress: the annual number of under-five deaths dropped from nearly 13 million in 1990 to 7.6 million in 2010. But still, 21,000 children die each day from preventable causes. Our mission is to do whatever it takes to make that number zero by giving children the essentials for a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit www.unicefusa.org.
For additional information, please contact:
Kiní Schoop, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.922.2634, firstname.lastname@example.org