2 November 2011

See a video from the Duke and Duchess's visit to UNICEF's Emergency Supply Centre.   

On Wednesday 2 November, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made a special visit to our Emergency Supply Centre in Copenhagen, to help put the global spotlight back onto the humanitarian crisis in East Africa.

Right now, children across East Africa are facing a desperate crisis caused by drought, high food prices and ongoing conflict in Somalia. Over 320,000 children are so severely malnourished that they are at imminent risk of starving to death without urgent help.

UNICEF's Supply Centre has a warehouse 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, vaccines and emergency medical kits. 

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were accompanied on the visit by the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Denmark. They arrive at UNICEF’s Supply Centre in Copenhagen’s Freeport at 2:30pm and welcomed by Shanelle Hall, Director of UNICEF’s Supply Centre. The Duchess and Crown Princess were given flowers by Amanda Kofoed and Maryam Abdullah, both 10 years old, who are children of UNICEF staff.

Both couples then received a video briefing on East Africa from Peter Hailey, Chief of Nutrition for UNICEF in Somalia. He told them about the reality for many children and their parents, who often have to walk for 25 days to find food. 

They then saw for themselves how the life-saving aid supplies are sourced and packed, ready to be sent to East Africa. They met four packing staff who showed them how different medical provisions - including essential medicines and emergency surgical equipment - are packed. Both Royal couples joined the staff on the packing line and helped to pack boxes of emergency health kits, each of which will provide life-saving supplies to over 1,000 people.

The Duke and Duchess and the Crown Prince and Princess then toured the warehouse, seeing the huge variety of supplies that are sent to emergencies around the world, including ready-to-use therapeutic food for severely malnourished children under five years old and supplementary food to support-families, emergency health kits, vaccines and water supplies including water purification tablets.

At the end of their visit, the Duke of Cambridge said:  "An incredible amount is being done. UNICEF is leading the way and doing a fantastic job, but sadly there’s lots more still to do, and that’s why we’re here today. Anyone who can do anything to help, please do."

The Duchess of Cambridge said: "We really hope to put the spotlight back on this crisis."

The Duke and Duchess went on to Copenhagen Airport to see the supplies being loaded onto flights provided by British Airways and UPS, bound for Nairobi.

Since the visit of both Royal couples to UNICEF’s supply centre was announced on 26 October, UNICEF has already seen a huge response to the appeal for donations to the emergency from the UK public.

Shanelle Hall, Director of Supply Division said: "It has been wonderful to welcome the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Crown Prince and Princess of Denmark to UNICEF’s Supply Centre and to show them the scale of the vital operation delivering supplies to malnourished children and their families. Their visit has already helped to draw the world’s attention back to the scale of the current crisis and we hope it will help us to raise the resources needed to continue our work in the region."

On Wednesday 2 November 2011, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be making a special visit to UNICEF’s global Supply Centre in Copenhagen. © St James’s Palace, by Chris Jackson/ Getty
On Wednesday 2 November 2011, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be making a special visit to UNICEF’s global Supply Centre in Copenhagen.© St James’s Palace, by Chris Jackson/ Getty