Dubai has a heart for humanity
Dubai - The IHC community can reach - within eight hours - two-thirds of the world population.
Showcasing the humanitarian side of Dubai, the International Humanitarian City (IHC), the world's largest humanitarian logistics hub, offers emergency aid across the globe. From food, shelter items and medication and many more - everything that is needed for emergency response is housed at the IHC.
Since Dubai is strategically located on the migration path between Europe and Asia, the IHC community can reach - within eight hours - two-thirds of the world population. Depending on the state of emergency, the hub can supply the necessary aid within a few hours.
On Thursday, the UAE media was given a tour of the IHC warehouses for the very first time to see the response and preparedness of the UAE to help the countries in need.
The IHC was founded by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in 2003 and is chaired by his wife Princess Haya bint Al Hussein. It is the only non-profit, independent, humanitarian free-zone authority hosting a community of more than 70 members comprising 55 humanitarian organisations and 13 commercial companies including UN organisations, international non-profits, intergovernmental entities, and commercial companies. The IHC warehouse and office space of up to 127,000sqm is set to double by 2020 and triple by 2022, reaching up to 360,000sqm.
Many of the warehouses, free for humanitarian organisations and companies offering aid, were half empty due to the enormous aid sent to 12 countries in 2017. These include Haiti, Madagascar, Sierra Leone, Bangladesh, Iraq, Uganda, Somalia, Nigeria, Cameroon, Algeria, Tunisia and Mozambique.
The IHC conducted 20 airlifts and two sea shipments dispatching 3,893 metric tonnes of relief items - valued at $18 million - with transportation cost alone being $6.3 million.
Showcasing the Red Crescent warehouse, representative Qasib, said: "The last shipment went about a week ago to Angola. These included 42 tonnes of medications; around eight tonnes of medical equipment; 55 tonnes of new furniture.
Around seven months back we sent about 700 tonnes of food items and other relief goods to Somalia."
Sorting relief items and repackaging them for dispatch and delivery happens at the warehouses. Relief items include tents, blankets, mattresses, toys, clothes and non-perishable food items.
At the warehouse of International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Society (IFRC) the mainly stocked items were for emergency relief to displaced people after the first stroke of a calamity. These include non-food relief items such as family tents, blankets, shelter kits, hygiene kits (for a family of five).
Basic medical kits and medications sent by various countries are assembled in at the World Health Organisation (WHO) warehouse at the IHC. These are dispatched as per the requirement call from needy countries. Giving an idea of the cost of one of the trauma kit packed at the WHO warehouse, the representative said it cost between $4,000 and $5000. The trauma kit can serve a 1,000 patients for a month, she added.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) warehouse in Dubai maintains a stock to serve 200,000 beneficiaries at any given time. "Thanks to the support of the Ruler of Dubai, the relief aid that would have taken six to eight weeks to reach Bangladesh were sent in 72 hours. The IHC aid effort saw 13 airlifts of 1,777 metric tonnes of relief supplies valued over $4.49 million," said the UNHCR representative Mohammed Yusuf.
After touring the IHC warehouses spread over an area of 127,000sqm, the media attended a board meeting presided by Princess Haya. She welcomed and thanked the IHC members for their support. Giuseppe Saba, leading logistics expert and CEO of IHC, highlighted the achievements of IHC in the past year.
The meeting also saw the IHC members representing the UN agencies, government and private sector suppliers to the humanitarian community, put forward proposals to support the Year of Zayed.
One of the main proposals submitted by the members was seeking to launch a mobile exhibition - that will travel through the seven emirates - on the late Sheikh Zayed's humanitarian legacy to inspire, educate and engage youngsters.