The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Spanish Red Cross have today (17 September) opened a new humanitarian logistics centre in the Canary Islands (Spain). The main purpose of the new centre in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is to store and dispatch emergency aid to the survivors of humanitarian crises, such as conflicts and natural disasters.
The logistics centre is already involved into the response to the floods in West Africa, which have affected over 450,000 people. Humanitarian aid, such as plastic sheeting, water tanks, insecticide treated bednets and blankets for the flood survivors, will be sent to Senegal and Burkina Faso from Las Palmas.
“This unit formally and specifically endorses our commitment to continue scaling up efforts to meet humanitarian needs in all the regions of the world,” said Juan Manuel Suárez del Toro, President of the IFRC.
The logistics centre was inaugurated by Her Majesty Queen Sofia of Spain, the IFRC President, Juan Manuel Suárez del Toro Rivero, and the organization's Secretary General, Bekele Geleta.
The IFRC already has three other regional logistics centres in Dubai, Kuala Lumpur and Panama, at which stocks of provisions are stored to meet the immediate needs of 320,000 people around the world. Logistics is an essential pillar of disaster management, one of the International Federation’s core activities. The IFRC is the world's largest humanitarian network, with tens of millions of volunteers and staff in 186 countries worldwide. In 2007-2008 alone, 500 millon Swiss francs (483 million US dollars; 329 million euro) were spent on goods and services to meet humanitarian needs. In 2006 the organization received the European Supply Chain Excellence Award.
The geographical situation of the Canary Islands and their proximity to Africa make the new centre a key site from which to provide assistance to victims in emergencies. “It is an ideal strategic location for the management and distribution of aid to large areas of Africa and other more distant areas, thanks to its situation between continents,” explains Suárez del Toro. The warehouse currently holds basic relief items for around 20,000 people, which can be delivered to those in need in a matter of hours.
The logistics centre covers an area of over 6500 m2; the supplies stored there include blankets, plastic sheets, family tents, shelter kits (took kits), mosquito nets, collapsible plastic containers, kitchen sets, hygiene kits, portable water purification units and other things.
Note for editors:
You can download a high-resolution photo of the new logictics centre here http://av.ifrc.org/Standard/i-sendBasket.index.jsp?basketID=6H98MSDTFPD6DNG9RF14K9BS72