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Ministers announce increased support for UN humanitarian stockpiling

Today, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charles Flanagan, TD, and the Minister for Development, Trade Promotion and North South Co-operation, Seán Sherlock, TD, announced that Ireland is increasing its stockpiles of humanitarian relief items and providing additional funding of USD $1 million to support the United Nations Humanitarian Response Depots network.

The United Nations Humanitarian Response Depots, managed by the World Food Programme, are strategically located internationally, for the procurement, storage and transport of emergency relief supplies. Under Ireland’s Rapid Response Initiative, Irish Aid pre-positions essential humanitarian supplies such as tents, blankets and water containers in hubs in Accra, Brindisi, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur and Panama City. These hubs are located near disaster or crisis-prone areas, ensuring lower transport costs and the rapid dispatch of Irish humanitarian supplies to up to 55,000 people at a time during a crisis.

Announcing this additional support, Minister Flanagan said:

Ireland is a long-standing supporter of the United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot network. This network is a vital and highly effective instrument in Ireland’s humanitarian response, and last year I was delighted to renew our partnership with the UN up to 2018.

“The world is currently facing an unprecedented level of humanitarian crisis, and we must be equipped to respond at a time when funds are limited but needs rising. Today I am announcing that Ireland will provide an additional USD$1 million to bolster the ability of the UN to respond to crises caused by natural disasters and conflict.

“This year alone, almost 300 tonnes of Ireland’s pre-positioned relief supplies, valued at €2.7 million, have been dispatched in response to crises such as the earthquake in Nepal. We have also sent supplies for refugees from conflict, including Nigerian refugees in Cameroon fleeing from Boko Haram”.

Minister Seán Sherlock added:

Given the scale of humanitarian need in the world today, we must ensure that relief supplies are pre-positioned in the right place. Two thirds of the world is within seven hours reach of the humanitarian hub in Dubai, and we are now doubling our humanitarian supplies stored there.We are also improving systems in the Accra hub so that we can respond more quickly and effectively to the many humanitarian crises across Africa.

“We must ensure that our relief supplies are meeting the immediate needs of the most vulnerable people, especially women and children. We are improving our stockpiles to ensure that they include items essential for the dignity and safety of refugee families."

ENDS

Press Office

26 November 2015