WFP Opens Logistics Hub For Humanitarian Assistance In Horn Of Africa

Published on 20 January 2016

DJIBOUTI – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) with the Government of Djibouti has officially opened a new humanitarian logistics base that will support assistance operations across the Horn of Africa by improving storage and transport of relief goods.

“The new hub will allow WFP and the wider humanitarian community to dispatch humanitarian assistance more quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively in the region,” said Valerie Guarnieri, WFP’s Regional Director for East and Central Africa, at the opening ceremony today at the hub, which is near the Djibouti port in the capital city.  

Djibouti’s Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, Moussa Ahmed Hassan, participated in the ceremony, along with other senior government officials. Also present was the Canadian Ambassador to Ethiopia and Djibouti, Philip Baker, whose government has been the lead financial supporter of the hub. The United States, Norway and Finland have provided additional key funding.  WFP started construction of the hub in 2013.

“We are opening this facility at a critical time, when Djibouti is playing a key role in our responses to several major crises in the region, including the conflicts in South Sudan and Yemen and the drought in Ethiopia worsened by El Nino,” Guarnieri added.

About one quarter of the people that WFP assists worldwide live in countries supported by the Djibouti hub. In 2015, WFP moved about 500,000 metric tons of food through the Djibouti port. The port is the main gateway for food entering Ethiopia, and is also an important trans-shipment point for WFP emergency operations in South Sudan, Yemen, and Somalia.

Through its custom bonded container yard, the hub will provide immediate savings on the handling of more than 4,000 containers that WFP moves through the port each year. The 25,000 metric ton storage facility will also enhance the efficiency of bagged cargo handling.  The Government of Djibouti provided WFP with 50,000 square metres of land for the construction.

The Government of Canada contributed more than US$18 million to support the establishment of the hub.  The United States contributed US$1.6 million towards the facility, while Finland and Norway provided US$1.3 million and US$300,000 respectively to enable the first phase of construction to be finalized.

“Our support for WFP is not just about responding to crises, but also about strengthening WFP’s capacity to respond effectively in the region and to plan ahead,” said Canada’s Ambassador Baker. “This hub could not come at a better time. As we are faced with the impact of El Nino, currently devastating land and livelihoods, including through the drought that Ethiopia is currently facing, and affecting countless women, men, boys and girls, there is an ever greater need for more effective delivery of humanitarian assistance.”

While the hub is already functional, WFP requires an additional US$7.6 million to complete works that will bring it up to its full operational capacity. Of that, US$3 million is urgently needed to complete the installation of four bulk cargo silos – capable of holding 10,000 metric tons of food each – which will enable more rapid off-loading of ships, lowering costs for WFP and helping to reduce congestion in the port for all users.

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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.

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For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@wfp.org):
Jesse Wood, WFP/Nairobi (currently in Djibouti), Mob. +254.707.723.102
Challiss McDonough, WFP/Nairobi: Tel. +254.20.762.2176, Mob. +254.707.722.104