NEW YORK (November 7, 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-soy blend flour will be moved through the warehouse monthly to Mogadishu and other hard-hit regions of the country.
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.
There are 1.5 million children in southern Somalia who are in dire need of humanitarian assistance. Among them 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 do not receive the necessary assistance.
Funding for the warehouse was offered by businessman Klaus-Michael Kuehne via the Kuehne Foundation. The donation, valued at 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.
"The humanitarian transit hub will make a major impact in widening our pipeline and also improving the predictability of supply delivery. It will help us ensure a regular flow of nutrition supplies for the worst-affected children and their families,” said Shanelle Hall, Director of UNICEF Supply Division. "We are very grateful for the generous support of the Kuehne Foundation."
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 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."
UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian aid organization in the world. Working in more than 150 countries, UNICEF provides children with health and immunizations, clean water, nutrition, education, emergency and disaster 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 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.