6 Things To Know About The UN Humanitarian Response Depots


Last week in Las Palmas, the humanitarian community welcomed the newest addition to the network of UN Humanitarian Response Depots (UNHRD), ready to respond to emergencies around the world. But what is UNHRD?

When Governments, UN agencies and NGOs look to respond quickly and efficiently to a disaster, they call on supplies that are immediately available in UNHRD warehouses. By prepositioning relief items, the humanitarian community can support affected people at the very beginning of an emergency, often saving lives within the first 24 – 48 hours.

The UNHRD Network is managed by WFP and stores, manages and transports these emergency supplies. Here is some information you might not know about UNHRD: 

1) Six Locations 

The UNHRD Network has six depots, strategically located around the world and near disaster-prone areas so that any location can be reached within five hours flying time. All depots are near airports, ports and main roads for rapid response. The locations are: Accra (Ghana), Brindisi (Italy), Dubai (United Arab Emirates), Panama City (Panama), Subang (Malaysia) and Las Palmas (Spain/Canary Islands).

2) Rapid Response

UNHRD is one of the first responders to emergencies around the world. Last year, when the devastating Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines, UNHRD immediately began dispatching humanitarian cargo from three of its depots via charter aircrafts. In the video above you’ll see footage of rapid response following severe flooding in Serbia and Bosnia in May 2014.

3) Variety Of Items

UNHRD currently manages around 400 different types of emergency items; ranging from storage units to armoured vehicles, refrigerated medicine and ready-to-eat food. In 2013, the most common items sent from UNHRD depots to emergencies around the world were prefabricated office/accommodation units, tents, storage units, medical supplies and blankets.

4) Humanitarian Community

Currently, there are 59 humanitarian organisations who partner with UNHRD. They range between governments, UN agencies, international organisations and non-governmental organisations. 

5) Combining Cargo, Cheaper For All

When an emergency strikes, UNHRD consolidates cargo from a number of partners so transport costs are shared, making it more efficient for all.

6) Setting up

UNHRD has a team of trained staff who can go to emergency locations to help organisations set-up their equipment. Alex, above , works in UNHRD’s depot in Ghana and is currently in the Central African Republic (C.A.R.) to set-up prefabricated offices for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

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