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At UNICEF centre, British and Danish royals highlight plight of children in Horn of Africa

Article / Review by on November 2, 2011 – 11:42 pmNo Comments

At UNICEF centre, British and Danish royals highlight plight of children in Horn of Africa

2 November 2011

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Denmark’s Crown Prince and Crown Princess today visited the global supply centre in Copenhagen for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), where they highlighted the plight of hundreds of thousands of children who may starve to death in the Horn of Africa without urgent help.
At UNICEF centre, British and Danish royals highlight plight of children in Horn of Africa

It is at the supply centre that the agency sources, packs and distributes essential supplies for children around the globe, including food, water, special nutritional supplies for the most malnourished children, including vaccines and emergency medical kits.

During their visit, the royals aim to raise the profile of the crisis in the Horn of Africa and encourage the public to support UNICEF’s appeal for funds to help millions of children at risk.

A total of 13.3 million people needed assistance in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Djibouti as a result of what aid agencies say is the worst drought in the region in six decades. Thousands of children have already died, and more than 320,000 – half of them in central and southern Somalia – are suffering from life-threatening malnutrition, according to UNICEF.

So far, UNICEF has delivered more than 10,000 tons of supplies to the region, treated 108,000 severely malnourished children in therapeutic feeding centres, vaccinated 1.2 million children against measles and provided 2.2 million people with access to safe water.

“Right now UNICEF, along with many other partners, is working tirelessly to ensure that children’s lives can be saved across East Africa,” said Elhadj As Sy, UNICEF’s Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa.

“Every day children are being given food and water thanks to the huge generosity of the public all around the world. But there is so much more to be done,” said Mr. As Sy, who is also Global Emergency Coordinator for the crisis.

UNICEF still needs $40 million to respond to the needs of children in the region for this year. The needs for next year are $402.8 million, including $300 million for UNICEF Somalia, to ensure that provision of life-saving therapeutic and supplementary feeding can continue.

During their visit, the British royals will be briefed on the latest situation in the region, see how the supplies are sourced and packed, meet staff and help to pack the emergency medical kits which are currently being sent to the Horn of Africa, as well as go to Copenhagen airport to see the supplies being loaded on to a British Airways flight, bound for Nairobi.

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Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit UNICEF’s life-saving emergency supply centre in Copenhagen to highlight desperate plight of children in East Africa

COPENHAGEN, 2 November 2011

This afternoon the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made a special visit to the UNICEF global supply centre 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 centre includes a warehouse the size of three football pitches 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 Centre in Copenhagen’s Freeport at 2:30pm and were welcomed by Shanelle Hall, Director of UNICEF’s Supply Centre.  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 life-saving 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 centre 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 Centre 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 $40 million. The financial needs for 2012 are $402.8 million, including $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

About UNICEF

UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org

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> United Nations (UN).

The General Assembly in session. Photo credit: UN / Eskinder Debebe The United Nations was established on 24 October 1945 by 51 countries committed to preserving peace through international cooperation and collective security. Today, nearly every nation in the world belongs to the UN: membership totals 192 countries.

When States become Members of the United Nations, they agree to accept the obligations of the UN Charter, an international treaty that sets out basic principles of international relations. According to the Charter, the UN has four purposes:

  • to maintain international peace and security;
  • to develop friendly relations among nations;
  • to cooperate in solving international problems and in promoting respect for human rights;
  • and to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations.

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* The above story is adapted from materials provided by United Nations (UN)
** More information at United Nations (UN)

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