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Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit UNICEF’s life-saving Emergency Supply Centre in Copenhagen to highlight desperate plight of children in East Africa

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made a  special visit to UNICEF’s global Supply Centre in Copenhagen today to help maintain the global spotlight on the humanitarian crisis in East Africa. The situation in East Africa has left more than 320,000 children so severely malnourished that they are at imminent risk of starving to death unless they get urgent help.

UNICEF’s Supply Centre has a warehouse within it the size of three football pitches.  It sources, packs and distributes essential supplies for children around the globe, including food, water, special nutritional supplies for the most malnourished children, including vaccines and emergency medical kits.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be accompanied on the visit by The Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Denmark.  Their Royal Highnesses together will seek to raise the profile of the crisis in East Africa, an area well known to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and encourage the public to support UNICEF’s appeal for funds to help millions of children who remain at risk.

During their visit they will receive a briefing on the latest situation in the region and see for themselves how the products are sourced and packed, ready to be sent to East Africa. They will meet staff and help to pack the emergency medical kits which are currently being sent to East Africa in order to respond to the life-threatening diseases affecting malnourished children, such as diarrhea and cholera. Finally the Duke and Duchess will go to Copenhagen Airport to see the supplies being loaded onto a British Airways flight, bound for Nairobi. UPS, a long-standing partner of UNICEF, is also providing a charter flight to deliver these much needed supplies from Copenhagen to East Africa. 

The public have been hugely generous in their response to the devastating crisis unfolding in East Africa, and life-saving supplies continue to reach the affected children and families. So far, UNICEF has delivered more than 10,000 metric tonnes of supplies to the region, treated 108,000 severely malnourished children in therapeutic feeding centres, vaccinated 1.2 million children against measles and provided 2.2 million people with access to safe water.

However, the region is currently experiencing the worst drought in decades and much more needs to be done in order to help the many thousands of children who are in need of urgent nutritional and medical help.

Elhadj As Sy, UNICEF’s, Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, who is Global Emergency Coordinator for the crisis, said, ‘Right now UNICEF, along with many other partners, is working tirelessly to ensure that children’s lives can be saved across East Africa. Every day children are being given food and water thanks to the huge generosity of the public all around the world. But, there is so much more to be done. As we speak more than 320,000 children are in grave danger and need life-saving emergency supplies, like those being shipped and airlifted from our warehouse today. We desperately need every single person to help us continue our work, so please donate today at www.eastafricacrisis.org

To respond to the remaining needs of children in East Africa for 2011, UNICEF still requires $40 million. The financial needs for 2012 are US$402.8 million, including US$300 million for UNICEF Somalia, in order to ensure that provision of life saving therapeutic and supplementary feeding can continue.

To donate to the East Africa Appeal please visit www.eastafricacrisis.org

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About UNICEF

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook

For interviews with UNICEF spokespeople, please contact:

Gemma Parkin, Tel: + 44 7766 052 658, gemmap@unicef.org.uk

Notes to editors:

  • A global appeal for support for East Africa has been launched by UNICEF in association with this visit - Members of the public around the world are encouraged to go to www.eastafricacrisis.org to make a donation in their local currency.  Money raised will support UNICEF’s work in the East Africa emergency. 
  • It is more than three months since famine was declared in parts of East Africa, following the worst drought in 50 years which has devastated food sources across Dijbouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia. Without rain for two successive seasons, crops failed and livestock perished. Food prices soared, forcing at least 600,000 people to flee their villages in search of food, water and medicine, making treacherous journeys to refugee camps. At least 13 million people require assistance and half of those are children.
  • UNICEF is the main provider of high protein peanut paste across the whole region, working with partner agencies to ensure that it reaches the children most in need.
  • £10 ($16) buys two weeks of high protein emergency therapeutic food for the most acutely malnourished children.
  • £210 ($333) buys an emergency medical kit, and supplies medical care for at least 1000 people for three months.

 

 
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