News / Middle East

Relief Stockpile in United Arab Emirates More Active Than Ever

A lift truck driver offloads aid materials for Syria at the UNHCR warehouses in Dubai, part of the International Humanitarian City (IHC), the largest global stockpile for the UNHCR in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Feb. 20, 2014.
A lift truck driver offloads aid materials for Syria at the UNHCR warehouses in Dubai, part of the International Humanitarian City (IHC), the largest global stockpile for the UNHCR in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Feb. 20, 2014.
Phillip Walter Wellman
On the dusty outskirts of Dubai, away from the glitzy skyscrapers and bustling highways, lies a collection of warehouses used by the United Nations to assist some of the world’s most impoverished people.

The UNHCR’s emergency relief stockpile in the United Arab Emirates has been operating since 2006, but officials say an unprecedented number of humanitarian emergencies has led to a recent surge in operations.  

Today, work at the Dubai facility rarely stops.

UNHCR senior global supply officer Soliman Mohamed Daud said, “This place is really getting bigger in volume. There is really more and more demand from operations around the world requesting core relief items from here.”

During the past two years the amount of cargo handled at the stockpile increased by 100 percent. Last year, 103 shipments were dispatched to more than 36 countries grappling with man-made and natural disasters, up from 22 in 2012.

The emergencies in Syria, Central African Republic and the Philippines all received multiple shipments in the past year.

“Syria by itself, in 2013, 30 percent of what was sent from the Dubai stockpile was sent to Syria [and its neighbors] and that’s almost 20 percent of what was given to the Syria operation,” Daud said.

Dubai stockpile is largest, busiest

Out of the UNHCR’s seven global stockpiles, Dubai has become the largest and busiest due to its strategic location and excellent logistics facilities. Within 72 hours it can serve up to 350,000 people with basic relief items - such as family tents, blankets, kitchen sets and sleeping mats.

UNHCR communications officer Mohammed Abu Asaker said the ability to deliver adequate relief supplies, however, is never guaranteed.

“All the humanitarian items at the Dubai stockpile, and other stockpiles, depend on donations from donors. The biggest constraint that we face is the money and the financial support," said Asaker. "We need the money to buy the humanitarian items, to make sure that we have them available all the time for any emergency.”

Each disaster has its own appeal for aid.

In December, the United Nations announced its largest-ever fundraising drive, seeking $6.5 billion for humanitarian aid to Syria alone. The body estimates that nearly three-quarters of the country’s 22.3 million population will need assistance by the end of the year.

Rising demand

Asaker said the numbers are worrying.

“We are in March already, so far we have only 20 percent available out of this money, so we are short," he said. "So we need and appeal to the international community and to donors to provide financial assistance quickly. This will enable us to respond effectively to the refugees.”

For the time being, the Dubai aid depot copes with the rising demands. Officials at the UNHCR say their dependency on the stockpile undoubtedly will grow in the future.

"We are looking forward to seeing Dubai’s stockpile as the first-line respondent to all emergencies all over the world," Asaker said.

In addition to the UAE, the UNHCR has stockpiles in Kenya, Tanzania, Cameroon, Ghana, Denmark, and Jordan. Together they are able to provide assistance for up to 700,000 people.

You May Like

US, China Have Dueling Definitions of Cybersecurity

Analysts say attribution or or proving that a particular individual or government is responsible for a hack, is a daunting task More

Snowden: I'd Go to Prison to Return to US

Former NSA contractor says he has not received a formal plea-deal offer from US officials, who consider him to be a traitor More

Goodbye Pocahontas: Photos Reveal Today's Real Native Americans

Weary of stereotypes, photographer Matika Wilbur is determined to reshape the public's perception of her people More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
March 19, 2014 11:02 PM
If world rich countries will not support terrorism in third world country,then we can control this type of operation with in our budget.If we will continue to support world famous terrorist to do what ever they like with human, we always face shortage of funds. So my suggestion to rich countries to give food,education,health and other basic facilities of life to poor peoples directly and do not sponsor terrorism because they have surplus money in their budget.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making a Minti
October 07, 2015 4:17 AM
While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video Self-Driving Cars Getting Closer

We are at the dawn of the robotic car age and should start getting used to seeing self-driving cars, at least on highways. Car and truck manufacturers are now running a tight race to see who will be the first to hit the street, while some taxicab companies are already planning to upgrade their fleets. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Clinton Seeks to Boost Image Before Upcoming Debate

The five announced Democratic party presidential contenders meet in their first debate next Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nevada. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton continues to lead the Democratic field, but she is getting a stronger-than-expected challenge from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.

Video Music Brings Generations Together

When musicians over the age of 50 headline a rock concert, you expect to see baby boomer fans in the audience. Boomer rock stars have boomer fans. Millennial rock stars have millennial fans. But this isn’t always the case. Take the Lockn’ Music festival which took place in mid-September in rural Arrington, Virginia. Here, Jacquelyn de Phillips discovered two generations of people who are considered quite different in the outside world, spending 4 days together in music-loving harmony.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video South Carolina Reels Under Worst-ever Flooding

South Carolina is reeling from the worst flooding in recorded history that forced residents from their homes and left thousands without drinking water and electricity. Parts of the state, including the capital, Columbia, received about 60 centimeters of rain in just a couple of days. Authorities warn that the end of rain does not mean the end of danger, as it will take days for the water to recede. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs