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UNICEF Deploys Its Largest Emergency Supply Operation Ever

27 August 2014

UNICEF Deploys Its Largest Emergency Supply Operation Ever in a Single Month

Record amount of emergency aid delivered to children caught in record number of crises

This August UNICEF shipped 1,000 metric tonnes (MT) of life-saving supplies for children caught in the world’s most urgent crises - the largest emergency supply operation in the organization’s history in a single month. The amount delivered would fill the equivalent of 19 cargo jumbo jets.

Vivien Maidaborn, Executive Director at UNICEF NZ said, “We are at a unique moment in time where we face multiple emergencies unfolding all over the world. With this, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the frequency, sheer numbers and scale of these emergencies. But there is also hope as UNICEF is continuing to reach more children every day.

“New Zealanders have been incredibly generous in donating to UNICEF’s work in high profile emergencies such as Gaza and Syria as well as lesser known crises such as Central African Republic and South Sudan. The needs here are huge and continue to be huge.

“In South Sudan 1 in 3 people don’t know when they will get their next meal and up to 50,000 children under the age of five could die needlessly this year unless nutritional treatment like ready-to-use therapeutic food is scaled up immediately.

“We continue to rely on the generosity of New Zealanders to help us reach each and every child with life-saving supplies and services and we express our greatest thanks to our Kiwi supporters for their ongoing commitment to our work worldwide,” Ms Maidaborn added.

Shanelle Hall, UNICEF’s Director of supply and logistics operations said, “UNICEF’s massive deployment responds to a massive need in many different countries at the same time. Now it is vital to keep humanitarian corridors open so these supplies continue to reach the children who desperately need them.”
Foreseeing the need to ramp up the response to conflict in Iraq and the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, UNICEF secured as many chartered flights as possible. In 27 days, the organization’s Copenhagen supply hub has dispatched emergency cargo loads to the world’s most troubled regions:

South Sudan has received 34 MT of life-saving nutritional support and supplies, including ready-to-use therapeutic foods for vulnerable children, 50,000 of whom are at risk of dying from malnutrition. Nearly one million children under five years old in South Sudan will require treatment for acute malnutrition this year.

State of Palestine has received 3.5 MT in supplies, mostly in the form of essential medicines for Gaza to restock hospitals and health facilities that have been damaged in the conflict. UNICEF has also supplied vaccines which are essential to protect children who become especially vulnerable during massive population displacements.

Iraq’s displaced families and children in the northwest received 500 MT that included emergency food rations, water, medical supplies, tents, and ready-to-use therapeutic food. UNICEF’s dispatch of 4 million doses of polio vaccine will protect children’s health in the wake of the re-emergence of the disease due to the breakdown of health systems in neighbouring Syria.

Liberia’s effort to contain the Ebola outbreak has been strengthened by 248 MT of supplies from UNICEF such as latex gloves, safety goggles, and overalls to protect health workers, concentrated chlorine disinfectant and a range of essential medicines. UNICEF is also helping the government assess the country’s supply chain capacity, which is strained by the crisis.

• In Syria, UNICEF’s supply response, which began as cargo airlifts four years ago, has evolved into a steady pipeline of supplies that in August included 89 MT of water purification tablets and education kits. UNICEF is also bringing in over 156 MT of health, education, and water supplies for displaced Syrian families in Lebanon and Jordan. Preparation for winter is underway as UNICEF stockpiles children’s winter clothing sourced from local suppliers in the region.

Central African Republic received 26 MT in medical equipment, vaccines, emergency food rations and hardware to dig water wells. Among essential medicines, anti-malarial supplies have been critical in protecting children from the country’s leading cause of death.
“During multiple crises of this magnitude children must come first. UNICEF is committed to staying the course. As long as children are in need we will continue to undertake these urgent, complex and vast supply operations,” said Hall.

Please donate to UNICEF NZ’s Children's Emergency Fund to help us continue this work: www.unicef.org.nz/EmergencyFund

ENDS

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