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Ministers announce increased support for UN humanitarian stockpiling

Aid Effectiveness, Emergencies, News/feature, Ireland, 2015

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.


Press Office

26 November 2015

Notes to Editor

Irish Aid is the Government’s overseas assistance programme. It is managed by the Development Cooperation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. For further information see www.irishaid.ie

Ireland’s Humanitarian Assistance Policy sets out the goal of Ireland’s new Humanitarian Assistance Policy outlines how Irish Aid saves and protects lives, alleviates suffering and maintains human dignity before, during and in the aftermath of humanitarian crises. For further information read the new Humanitarian Assistance Policy.

In 2014 Ireland dedicated €85 million in providing lifesaving humanitarian assistance to vulnerable people across the world and it is expected that this figure will be surpassed by the end of 2015.

As part of Ireland’s Rapid Response Initiative, Irish Aid pre-positions emergency humanitarian stocks within the UN Humanitarian Response Depot network of hubs around the globe. The hubs in which Ireland stockpiles are strategically located near disaster-prone areas - in Accra (Ghana), Brindisi (Italy), Dubai (UAE), Panama City (Panama) and Subang (Malaysia).

To date in 2015, Ireland has dispatched almost 300 tonnes of emergency relief supplies into crises in Malawi to help families affected by severe flooding there earlier this year, to northern Cameroon to help Nigerian refugees fleeing from Boko Haram, to Nepal to help families left homeless by the earthquakes there, and to Uganda to help South Sudanese refugees fleeing from conflict. The value of these airlifts, including the value of the stocks, airfreight and other costs, was €2.7 million. Supplies included blankets, tents, tarpaulins, rope, kitchen sets, mosquito nets, water tanks, jerry cans, and soap.

Ireland provided funding to build the hub in Accra, which is known as the ‘Irish hub’. Most of Ireland’s stockpiles are currently held in the Accra hub. Relief items for 20,000 beneficiaries are stockpiled there (36% of Ireland’s entire stockpiles) and, after UNHCR, Ireland is the second largest user of this hub.

As part of Ireland’s Rapid Response Initiative, Irish Aid manages the Rapid Response Corps, a roster of highly skilled individuals who are willing to deploy at short notice to work as surge capacity with Ireland’s UN partners as part of their emergency response efforts. 27 rapid responders have been deployed to date in 2015 to countries including South Sudan, Sudan, Ethiopia, the Central African Republic, Nigeria, Guinea, Malawi, Tanzania, Jordan, Nepal and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.