COPENHAGEN, Denmark, 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.
VIDEO: UNICEF reports on a Royal visit to the organization’s Supply Centre in Copenhagen.
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 and special nutritional supplies for the most malnourished children as well as 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 Division. 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.
‘UNICEF is leading the way’
The Duke and Duchess and the Crown Prince and Crown Princess then toured the warehouse, seeing the huge variety of supplies being 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 expressed his deep admiration for the efforts being made by UNICEF on behalf of the children in the East Africa region. “An incredible amount is being done,” he said. “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 Duke of Cambridge then made a heartfelt appeal: “Anyone who can do anything to help, please do.”
The Duchess of Cambridge added, “We really hope to put the spotlight back on this crisis.”
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.
Maintaining a global focus
Shanelle Hall, Director of Supply Division stressed the importance of maintaining a global focus on the continuing crisis in East Africa. “It has been wonderful to welcome the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Crown Prince and Crown 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,” she said. “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 US$40 million. The financial needs for 2012 are US$402.8 million, including US$300 million for UNICEF Somalia, in order to ensure that provision of life saving therapeutic and supplementary feeding can continue.