|© UNICEF/HQ04-0864/Lars Bech|
|DENMARK: Workers pack medical supplies bound for Sri Lanka at UNICEF’s central supply warehouse in Copenhagen, the capital. The materials are part of UNICEF’s first airlift of relief for coastal communities.|
Copenhagen, 28 December 2004 – A planeload of essential items, the first of several, is due to leave Denmark this evening, bringing much needed medical supplies, shelter materials and education kits to children and their families affected by the earthquake in Asia on 26th December.
When news of the disaster emerged, UNICEF staff in the countries involved, together with Supply Division in Copenhagen, identified those supplies that are most urgently needed. UNICEF’s head of warehouse and logistics operations in Copenhagen, Søren Hansen, comments ‘We are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to start packing and shipping essential supplies for an emergency in the initial critical hours. Ten additional staff worked late into the evening yesterday, packing the items ready for despatch today.’
These first supplies, destined for Sri Lanka, include 15 emergency health kits (containing medicines, medical supplies and basic medical equipment to cover the health needs of 150,000 people for three months), 150,000 sachets of oral rehydration salts to combat diarrhoea, and 20 tents. School-in-a-box kits (containing education materials for 8,000 pupils and their teachers) and recreation kits are also included in the shipment, ensuring that children can return to school as quickly as possible and regain a sense of normality.
A second flight for Sri Lanka, sponsored by the Belgian Government and containing 20 tonnes of tarpaulins and tents, is due to leave Dubai tonight. ‘The earthquake and tsunamis could not have been predicted, but thanks to UNICEF’s network of emergency warehouse hubs around the world, including Dubai, we are prepared for just such a crisis’, states Mr. Hansen.
More emergency health kits are expected to leave Copenhagen tomorrow, on their way to Indonesia.
UNICEF’s commitment is to be able to respond to an emergency within 48 hours, any time of the day, any day of the year. The organization has developed a list of standard items that can be used in various types of emergency, so that not a minute is wasted following a disaster. With many years of experience working with children and women in crisis, UNICEF has the expertise and is prepared to assist them in the most effective way.