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Dubai to play vital role in disbursing aid to disaster zones

posted on 09/02/2005: 713 views

When disaster hits again, Dubai will play a critical role in how quickly affected areas receive aid. The emirate has been chosen as the first overseas facilitator by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and will store food supplies for disaster zones.

The Office of Food for Peace at USAID is partnering with the Dubai Ports Authority (DPA) and is opening its first long-term overseas facility in Port Rashid, said Lauren Landis, director of USAID.

The contract involves handling and storing a rotating stock of up to 30,000 metric tonnes of US food commodities provided by USAID in response to emergency food needs around the world. Gulf News has exclusively learnt it is a one-year renewable contract with the DPA.

When the tsunami hit South East Asia in December, USAID already had thousands of tonnes of food aid en route to Dubai for pre-positioning. The life-saving food included rice, corn-soy blend, vegetable oil and peas.

The announcement was made yesterday on the pier in Port Rashid, against a backdrop of US$3 million worth of emergency food supplies being loaded into containers for immediate shipment to tsunami-affected areas. "This is a major step for USAID towards adopting a more efficient logistics chain," Michele Sison, the US Ambassador, said.

The US$3-million food relief is just one portion of the total American contribution to the people of South East Asia, Sison said. "The awarding of this contract is testimony to the state-of-the-art infrastructure and logistical support we can provide at short notice," said Jamal Bin Thaniah, DPA managing director. (The Gulf News)


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