Thursday, 18 August 2011

22 plane-loads of aid for Somalia


Praseeda Nair

19 August 2011
DUBAI — As of now, a total of nine planes carrying food supplies, and 13 carrying non-perishable necessities have been airlifted from Dubai to Mogadishu and the UN refugee camp in Dabaab, according to UN officials from International Humanitarian City.
In the light of the critical state of the food crisis in Somalia and in appreciation of aid workers around the world, various United Nations agencies based in Dubai announced today as the World Humanitarians’ Day, embracing the theme “people helping people.”
Khalid Khalifa, head of the Middle East/Asia Bureau of UN integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) and (OCHA), expressed his appreciation of the high level of global commitment shown by aid workers on the frontlines.
“World Humanitarians’ Day is for our colleagues who have given their lives to make whatever difference they can for others during trying times. It’s to show our appreciation to those aid workers who have been kidnapped, tortured, declared missing in action, or have lost their lives. I myself have been an aid worker for many years, helping people cope with national disasters and civil wars. Now I’m trying to do my part from the comfort of an airconditioned office, knowing what I’m missing on the frontlines,” Khalifa told Khaleej Times.
Brigitte Khair Mountain, Head of United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), outlined the ongoing aid programmes in Somalia from Dubai. “Three planes have airlifted non-food supplies to Mogadishu, and 10 to Dabaab. The camp at Dabaab has a maximum capacity of 90,000 people, but it is stretched at the moment, housing 450,000 refugees with nowhere else to turn to. We’re currently still in talks with the UAE government on how much money will be channeled to this project from here,” she said. Currently, the UNHCR’s Dubai warehouse is the largest logistical hub, with the potential to provide non-food supplies to up to 500,000 people in 48 hours. “This is the first time we’re seeing a shift in the Gulf region, as most nations want to engage multilaterally. Hopefully, this will have a higher impact,” she added.

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