What I like about working with UNHAS South Sudan is seeing the number of humanitarians flying every day to remote and isolated locations. It gives me a sense of pride to know we are supporting life-saving aid. I feel so happy I am in a position to contribute to that. UNHAS South Sudan is a demanding and challenging operation; you are busy 24/7 and simply don’t see the time passing! As a woman working in the deep field, it has been a great learning experience that totally took me out of my comfort zone.
No place too remote
No challenge too tough
WFP logistics - We deliver
In South Sudan, WFP operates its largest humanitarian air operation. Through the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS), around 8,000 aid workers are able to reach over 40 remote and isolated locations each month. UNHAS staff operate a fleet of 17 helicopters, and small and medium-sized aircraft to make this possible.
Persistent insecurity and tough living conditions make it a difficult place to work. Nicole is an Air Movement Officer with UNHAS in South Sudan, where she is reminded every day why she has this job. Here she explains what motivates her in this challenging environment.
After 25 days of uninterrupted work, WFP has finished constructing an Ebola Treatment Centre (ETC) for ALIMA, an NGO partner in Guinea. It is now the fourth operational ETC in the country. Venturing into unknown territory, WFP has adopted an integrated approach, cooperating along the way with global medical aid agency Médecins sans Frontières (MSF), ALIMA and the government of Guinea to lead this project.
It's quite dark here when a myriad of small busy silhouettes appear under large external spotlights. A digger excavating trenches suddenly comes into view. Concrete mixers are pouring fresh cement into wheelbarrows that come and go to finalise the alleys. On a roof, a man is nailing the last few rows of hardwood, while another tirelessly saws the planks in a mechanical gesture. It feels like a well-oiled machine, yet this is a first for all partners involved in the construction site.
In South Sudan, the WFP-led Logistics Cluster runs its largest and most complex operation, supporting the transportation needs for almost 20 humanitarian organizations by road, river and air. As the Deputy Head of the Logistics Cluster based in Juba, it was only natural for Aiedah to find her way here– she’s always been drawn to a challenge.
In 2008, Aiedah took up her first assignment with WFP, working in her come country of Ethiopia.
“I chose to work in logistics because I was passionate about the way one could help people in need, and this job offered the possibility for me to make a direct contribution,” Aiedah says. Dedicated, driven and passionate about logistics, she likes big machines and complex operations.
Another cargo plane is flying from the Italian coastal town of Brindisi to Monrovia, the capital of one of three West African countries being ravaged by the deadly Ebola disease. This aircraft - the fifth chartered plane to leave the UN Humanitarian Response Depot in Brindisi – is carrying more than USD$600,000 worth of equipment needed to respond to the crisis. Does it look like a bunch of big boxes? It is! But follow the cargo trail below to see how the cargo is reaching remote corners of Liberia and helping the Government, WHO and other organizations fight Ebola.
Loading vital supplies
WFP’s storage tents, generators, water tanks and other equipment are loaded onto a chartered aircraft at the UN Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD) in Italy. There are five other UNHRDs around the world that store and dispatch emergency supplies for governments, UN agencies and NGOs when disasters strike.
More than ever before, the humanitarian community is relying on WFP’s logistics team as their ally in the fight against Ebola. International contributions are forthcoming and generous, but the success of this unique emergency response depends on getting critical supplies of protective gear, medical items, equipment and aid workers wherever they’re needed. WFP ‘loggies’ from UNHAS, UNHRD and the Logistics Cluster are working in overdrive. Meet eight of them in Liberia.
Alastair, a New Zealander, usually based in Kenya
Boxes filled with essential relief and supplies for the Ebola response are piled up in a Liberia basketball stadium, ready to be dispatched all over the country. They sit in front of the stands, where crowds of basketball fans would usually cheer on their team. The sounds of truck engines and pallets being moved now fill the air. This is the heart of the WFP’s main logistics hub in Monrovia.
Soren Gronvald from Denmark is working as a logistician for WFP. Of the many operations he's worked in, this one has proven to be the most challenging. Donations and supplies are coming in strong, and the days at the logistics hub are long. As the manager of the Monrovia hub, Soren’s daily work is daunting: throughout the day, he coordinates the receipt and dispatch of large quantities of supplies on behalf of the entire humanitarian community.
A recent donation of trucks by WFP is helping a fellow humanitarian partner to reach the most vulnerable inside Syria.
To support humanitarian food deliveries to millions of displaced people in need across Syria, WFP is donating 15 trucks to its partner, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC), which is allowing the organization to run joint humanitarian convoys to reach the most difficult-to-access locations. This initiative is part of WFP’s efforts to build partners’ capacities in emergencies, helping them to reach the most vulnerable.
In addition to providing food assistance, WFP is working closely with medical, humanitarian and government partners across West Africa to fight the Ebola outbreak. Here are the top 5 ways logistics is supporting the humanitarian community:
1) Setting up a logistics infrastructure. As part of its Ebola response plan, WFP is establishing the supply network from main ports and international airports in the affected countries. This includes the set-up of a regional logistics hub in Accra, as well as logistics bases in the three capital cities, to channel the flow of medical and humanitarian supplies to where they’re needed most.
Right now, WFP is doing something it has never done before.
Over the years, WFP's logistics and engineering staff have teamed up to build state-of-the-art warehouses in Afghanistan, rehabilitate remote airstrips in Mali and build roads for thousands of kilometres in South Sudan. But this time, a new challenge has come our way.
At the request of WHO, WFP is building Ebola Treatment Units in Monrovia. Located at two different sites in the capital, these ETUs will accommodate 400 beds, helping the country fight the Ebola outbreak.
The Ebola response is requiring the support of the entire humanitarian community. WFP is assisting UN agencies, NGOs and Governments with critical logistics support.
WFP’s Regional Director for West Africa, Denise Brown, describes how we're doing this. "At WFP, we are shifting our gears to keep up with this huge challenge. We’re delivering food, logistics support, planes, helicopters, ships and building treatment centres."
This photo gallery below shows a few highlights.