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As the food crisis in Mali worsens, UPS and UNICEF deliver humanitarian aid

© UNICEF Mali/2012/Traore
UNICEF Mali Adviser Supply and Logistics - Emergency, Frédéric Urlep, inspects shipment of WASH supplies delivered free-of-charge by UPS at the Bamako-Sénou International Airport on 16 August 2012.

By Rachel Warden

BAMAKO, Mali, 21, August 2012 - On 16 August, a large M-11 jet airliner touched down at the Bamako-Sénou International Airport, as the United Parcel Service (UPS) made its first free-of-charge delivery to UNICEF Mali.  As part of UPS’s efforts to help people in the Sahel affected by the food and nutrition crisis, 20 metric tons of supplies were delivered to Mali. 

The supplies are part of UNICEF’s emergency response to the food and nutrition crisis in the North of Mali, which has been complicated by a cholera outbreak and armed conflict. 

A UPS coordinated flight arrived with supplies from UNICEF’s warehouse in Copenhagen, Denmark.  If the order had travelled by ground and sea it would have taken 6 to 8 weeks to reach Mali. Instead, these water, sanitation and hygiene supplies reached Mali in a matter of hours, and will be used to fight the recent outbreak of cholera in the North and curb the nutrition crisis. 

It is estimated that this year 175,000 children under five-years-old in Mali are at risk of severe acute malnutrition, a life threatening condition. Lack of access to safe drinking water and sanitation facilities also puts children at risk of other life threatening diseases such diarrhea and dehydration.  In addition to fighting cholera, these supplies will optimize the response to the nutrition crisis.  Healthy children will stand a better chance of not slipping into severe acute malnutrition and children already suffering from malnutrition will have access to safe drinking water, needed to make a full recovery.

Theophane Nikyema, UNICEF Mali Representative a.i., expressed great gratitude for the UPS donated charter.

© UNICEF Mali/2012/Traore
Frédéric Urlep, UNICEF Mali Adviser Supply and Logistics - Emergency, greets UPS Mali Country Manager at the Bamako-Sénou International Airport.

“UNICEF Mali is extremely grateful for this donation from UPS.  The timeliness of these water and sanitation supplies is invaluable to UNICEF’s response to the cholera crisis in the North where there is a need for access to safe water, especially for children who are the most vulnerable.  The fact that UPS has made this much-needed shipment by air to Mali speeds up the response.  And saving time means saving lives.”

The UNICEF water sanitation and hygiene supplies delivered by UPS include:

  • 400 basic family water kits that will benefit 13,200 people. The kits contain buckets, collapsible water containers, soap and water purification tablets enabling children and their families to drink safe water, wash and avoid disease.
  • 400 cartons of oral rehydration salts for the prevention and treatment of dehydration, which will benefit up to 416,800 families.
  • Supplementary items for 4 interagency emergency health kits, which provide essential medicines and medical equipment.  The content of each kit is based on the health needs of 10 000 people for a period of three months, benefitting up to 40,000 people.


© UNICEF Mali/2012/Traore
Workers prepare to deplane the cargo onboard the UPS-chartered flight delivering water, sanitation and hygiene supplies to UNICEF in Mali at the Bamako-Sénou International Airport on 16 August 2012.

UNICEF Mali Adviser, Supply and Logistics - Emergency Frédéric Urlep greeted and thanked a UPS entourage on the airfield as the plane came in.  They inspected the palettes packed high with UNICEF boxes and marked with the words “UPS Delivering Humanitarian Relief.”  Supplies for other aid agencies were also on board, adding to the consolidated effort for Mali.

UPS Mali Country Manager Houd Sanogo said, “What’s happening here today is part of a UPS strategy to support humanitarian aid by providing free air transport.  This is the first time with UNICEF Mali and we hope that it will not be the last.”

The donation from UPS comes at a crucial time.  UNICEF has requested USD 58 million for emergency response in Mali, yet to date only 28 per cent has been funded.   The cost of an air shipment is high, but the value is beyond the cash amount.  For now these life-saving supplies are one giant step closer to reaching children and their families in the North of Mali.



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