Prince Harry visits UNICEF’s Emergency Operation Centre in New York
TORONTO, 28 June 2010 - During a visit to New York this week, Prince Harry visited the United Nations Children’s Fund’s (UNICEF) Emergency Operations Centre in New York today, Saturday 26th June 2010. The visit enabled the Prince to gain a better understanding of how geospatial mapping is used to coordinate relief and rescue after a disaster and gain a deeper understanding of the effect of emergencies on children globally.
As patron of charity Map Action, Prince Harry takes a keen interest in how humanitarian organizations work in emergencies all over the world. The Prince was invited to visit UNICEF, meet key staff and see how the world’s leading UN organization for children, UNICEF, operates in global emergencies.
During his visit, Prince Harry saw some of the emergency supplies UNICEF sends out all over the world to help children caught up in crises, including the ‘School in a box’; a hardy box full of all the equipment needed to give forty children an education in an emergency setting.
Hilde Johnson, Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF, who joined the Prince on his visit, said, “UNICEF warmly welcomes Prince Harry to UNICEF’s Emergency operation centre here in New York. It’s the hub of our global emergency response. UNICEF works across the world, with partners, to provide life saving support to children in over 200 emergencies every year.”
“In all emergencies, it is children that are the hardest hit,” Johnson added. “In sudden natural disasters or conflict, they are the most vulnerable. They need food, water, shelter and protection from disease and abuse. We urgently need financial support to respond to their needs, and protect their rights. This year alone we are appealing for over $1.2bn for our life saving work to continue in 28 of the world’s most pressing crises. Without it, children will continue to suffer. We cannot allow that to happen.”
UNICEF’s Office of Emergency Programmes (EMOPS), visited by Prince Harry, supports its operations all over the world in humanitarian crisis, ensuring timely, effective and reliable humanitarian response. It provides support and guidance to UNICEF Country and Regional Offices for emergency preparedness and response, post-crisis recovery and disaster risk reduction.
UNICEF monitors global security conditions and events through a 24 hour Operations Centre called OPSCEN that supports UNICEF to achieve its commitments to children in emergencies and to the security of its staff through the provision of vital, 24/7 global information and communications services. OPSCEN has played a critical support role for UNICEF’s response to large-scale emergencies, including the Indian Ocean Tsunami (2004), the Lebanon conflict (2006), cyclone Nargis in Myanmar (2008), the earthquake in Haiti (2010), as well as pandemics such as avian influenza. This unique centre is currently operated by a team of 12 full-time staff who speak 14 languages.
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