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U.N. agency says corporations offering help

U.N. agency says corporations offering help

The World Food Program said on Thursday that corporate sponsors are helping to establish a global disaster response network that will save lives and tens of millions of dollars.
Citigroup Corporate and Investment Banking and the Dutch logistics group TNT, which have already helped to support relief efforts, are among the companies backing the agency's plans to set up a WFP Emergency Network.
The proposed network would include five warehouses of essential supplies at strategic locations around the world.
"Everything that you would need in a response to an emergency will be available in these warehouses," from food to generators, said Amer Daoudi of WFP.
Michael Klein, a Citigroup co-president, said the company's Foundation would also grant WFP US$3.2 million over two years to improve the agency's ability to prepare for food needs in crisis-prone countries ahead of disaster.
"That ultimately will enable all of us to target where disasters may strike next and to do everything we can to prevent them or otherwise minimize their impact on the people on the ground, typically the poorest of the poor," Klein said.
Daoudi said the contributions will help the agency confront a growing number of disasters in the world more quickly and efficiently.
Already the network has three depots - in Italy, the United Arab Emirates and Ghana - said Daoudi. A fourth will be up and running in Panama in two or three months, and the fifth will be added in Malaysia by June or July.
"The total cost of the network including all the goods that are stored in it and the construction of the depots will amount to almost US$17 million (euro13 million)," Daoudi told The Associated Press.
With simultaneous major disasters in three different locations, the agency might have to spend US$80 million without the network, and less than half that with it, said Daoudi.
In addition, the network will save money for other U.N. agencies and charities because they will be allowed to use warehouse space for free, he said.
Daoudi said that WFP has been working with only one depot - in Brindisi, Italy - to try to meet the needs of the world since 2000, and had realized that it could save large amounts in transportation and other costs by having four more depots scattered around.
TNT, which contributed planes, trucks and helicopters to help WFP respond to the Indian Ocean tsunami, has supplied the warehouse in Ghana as part of its contribution, said Ludo Oelrich of the company.


Updated : 2021-06-25 06:20 GMT+08:00