WFP opens strategic hubs to augment global emergency response

Prompted by the magnitude and growing number of emergencies in recent years, WFP has launched a new humanitarian response “Network”, with strategic hubs in Africa, Europe, MiddleEast, Asia and Latin America.

Prompted by the magnitude and growing number of emergencies in recent years, WFP has launched a new humanitarian response “Network”, with strategic hubs in Africa, Europe, MiddleEast, Asia and Latin America.

By positioning critical supplies around the globe, there is no doubt that we will be able to help people more rapidly and more effectively

Ramiro Lopes da Silva, Director of WFP’s Transport and Procurement Division

The Network is designed to meet the escalating challenges of sudden humanitarian emergencies which can sometimes strike almost simultaneously.

Just one year ago, in Guatemala, thousands of people were victimised by the effects of Hurricane Stan and just a few days later, Pakistan was hit by a massive earthquake.

Speedy response

Modelled on the United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD) in Brindisi in southern Italy, each emergency hub will stock strategic supplies of relief goods and equipment, ready for transport within 24-48 hours by air and sea.

Established in June 2000 and managed by WFP, the Brindisi base has provided critical support to UN agencies, governments, and NGOs during crises such as the Indian Ocean tsunami and the recent Lebanon crisis.

“With the growing number of natural disasters, aid agencies must be better prepared and better equipped to reach affected populations, as quickly as possible,” said Ramiro Lopes da Silva, Director of WFP’s Transport and Procurement Division.

Strategic presence

“By establishing a presence in strategic corners of the world, we are taking a further key step towards enhancing further our performance in assisting those in need.”

The new Network is composed of humanitarian response depots in Accra, Dubai,Panama, Malaysia and Brindisi. At the Humanitarian Development Summit which started yesterday in Nairobi, Kenya, WFP will present the new Network to relief agency counterparts and other stakeholders.

“Over the last six years, the logistical support from the Brindisi hub made a significant difference to the speed and efficiency of emergency response as seen during crises stretching from the earthquake in Iran to conflicts in Afghanistan and Darfur,”said Giuseppe Saba, UNHRD Network Coordinator.

Life and death situations

“By positioning critical supplies around the globe, there is no doubt that we will be able to help people more rapidly and more effectively – very possibly, making the difference between life and death.”

Financial and in-kind support to the new Network is coming from a variety of governments and institutions, including NGOs such as the Swedish Rescue and Response Agency (SRSA) and Solidarity, a Greek NGO.

TNT, the global express logistics and mail company and WFP’s corporate partner, is also assisting by temporarily hosting the facility in Ghana.

Since it opened in 2000, the UNHRD in Brindisi has been strongly supported by the Italian government.