Delivering relief from the world’s largest ‘humanitarian hub’ in Dubai

by IFRC | International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) - Switzerland
Monday, 24 March 2014 09:43 GMT


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The crisis in Syria has - over three years - touched almost every community in the region as more people flee across borders. Meeting the needs of millions of vulnerable people, and coordinating this humanitarian response in the most challenging circumstances, means making sure the right equipment is in the right place, at the right time.

The Global Logistics Service of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) provides logistics support through it Dubai-based hub, which is part of the International Humanitarian City of Dubai and is supported by the government of the United Arab Emirates. This is the world’s largest and busiest logistics hub for humanitarian aid, and is home to operations for more than 55 non-governmental organizations.

The facilities and strategic location, from which two-thirds of the world’s population can be reached in eight hours, have helped to deliver assistance in some of the worst humanitarian crises of the past decade, including the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia, drought in the Horn of Africa, civil unrest in Afghanistan and Darfur, and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Organizations working in the city have also been heavily engaged in the emergency responses to Syria and the Philippines.

Given the complexities of conflict and mass migration, supply chains in the region are affected by operational constraints. The Global Logistics Service in Dubai pursues multiple delivery options and calculates risks to ensure flexibility in supply chains, as well as a smooth flow of goods on the ground including food, temporary shelter, household kits, hygiene items, vehicles  and other supplies.

Goran Zuber, Head of GLS office in Dubai, said the IFRC’s presence in the International Humanitarian City has allowed it to efficiently meet the needs of millions of people. “We are extremely thankful to the International Humanitarian City of Dubai for the excellent facilities that have been put at our disposal, as well as for the continuous support of the Red Crescent Society of the United Arab Emirates. With no-cost office and warehouse facilities and a favourable location, we have managed to significantly reduce our operational cost whilst improving speed of service delivery,” he said.

In addition to its Dubai office, the IFRC’s Global Logistics Service has hubs based in Panama, Kuala Lumpur, Nairobi and Las Palmas, providing support for Red Cross Red Crescent operations, and also extending services on a non-profit basis to other humanitarian partners.

Since 2007, the service has mobilized and delivered humanitarian aid worth over 220 million Swiss francs annually, and holds pre-positioned stock to meet the immediate needs of 450,000 people at any time.