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

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: MUSTAFA from: INDIA
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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs