From Dublin to Aleppo: The 72-hour Journey of a UNICEF Emergency Kit

Thanks to our Supply Division, the world’s largest humanitarian supply warehouse, UNICEF is prepared and ready to respond to the urgent needs of children caught up emergencies whenever and wherever they need us. Our teams in Supply Division work to prepare and send lifesaving supplies in less than 72 hours. But it is only possible with support from people like you.

When you buy a Child Survival Gift, or when you donate to UNICEF, you become part of our journey.

This is how we put your support in action.

What Happens After You Order a Child Survival Gift from UNICEF Ireland Shop

UNICEF has a global presence, we are active in more than 190 countries and territories and when disaster strikes our teams are ready to go. Working with our emergency hub in New York and our dedicated teams on the ground UNICEF begins immediate assessments identifying the supplies needed to save children’s lives in a matter of hours.

This information is passed to our logistic teams. With the world’s largest humanitarian warehouse, in Copenhagen Denmark, we are the leading agency for children’s supplies.

Open 24/7, the warehouse processes more than 319,000 kits every year. UNICEF can dispatch virtually anything to anywhere.

24 Hours Later –We’re Loading Supplies

We lead the humanitarian response on nutrition, education, sanitation, water, hygiene and child protection. With over 20,000 square metres – the equivalent of three football pitches – our hub is filled with enough medicine, food, water and material to cover the immediate needs of at least 200,000 people.

Depending on the needs, an emergency supply packing list is put together and sent to UNICEF offices around the world who sell the products.

Supply Division has developed different pre-packed kits as the Emergency Survival Kits composed of warm thermal blankets, life-saving food, therapeutic milk and water purification tablets, there is even a School in a Box. The warehouse stocks components for 38 different kits, which are often deployed in emergencies.

When Survival Gifts are bought from UNICEF Ireland, the information is sent to the warehouse. Big yellow robots will zip up, pull out pallets of supplies, and bring them down to the loading floor, where they are put on a track to be packed. Once they are packed, they wait on the lower floor of the warehouse.

48 Hours Later – The Plane Journey

The team in the warehouse have 48 hours to organise the transportation and logistics of bringing tonnes of supplies from point A to point B. The supplies generally leave UNICEF’s Copenhagen warehouse by cargo plane. The planes are often supplied by our corporate partners who donate cargo space from UNICEF’s hub to destinations where the need is greatest. Thanks to these collaborations, shipments can reach children in all parts of the world.

UNICEF has 876 staff who work to ensure the local delivery of supplies. They have expertise in procurement, logistics, and freight handling. In emergencies, the supplies are shipped by plane, but in some situations, supplies are transported by ship as it is a cheaper way to deliver products.

72 Hours Later – Supplies Arrive

The plane shipping supplies try to land wherever it is possible. If there is no infrastructure to land at all, we turn to airdrops: many kits in the warehouse can survive a drop from the sky. On the ground, our teams are already there to take care of the supplies. The moment the supplies arrive, our logistic teams implament their distribution plan. Some of our staff members have even transported supplies on mules, on their back or even in canoes.

Our teams bring the supplies to a safe, dry place where they can start unpacking and preparing the distribution. Within 72 hours they are on the ground, making their way into the hands of children who desperately needed them. We make sure that each child in need receives the food, the clothing or the emergency kits they have been waiting for.

Then our doctors start to prepare the hospital tents needed to administer vaccines and medicines to those who are sick. Malnourished or hungry children will be given therapeutic food by our nutritionists.

“We came here today to receive winter clothes. It was so exciting. I am so happy. We got jackets, scarves and sweaters. This sweater will always keep me warm. I will wear it at home and at school,” Yaseen (7) said with a big smile on her face. “We should have clothes every winter to keep us warm.”

Thanks to your donation, children in difficult situations around the world like Yaseen have been reached, helped and taken care of. Together, we are saving the lives of children as quickly as possible.

Learn More About UNICEF’s Supply Division

If you’re still interested in learning more about UNICEF’s supply division and global logistics team, check out the video below!