Earlier this year, the UN World Food Programme announced that it would establish Asia’s first UN Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD) in Malaysia.1 Based in Subang (about 50 km west of Kuala Lumpur), the hub would provide storage, logistics support, and services to UN agencies and other non-profits operating in the region. The government of Malaysia has agreed to build offices, warehouses, and a training center, and to contribute $1 million each year toward the cost of running the UNHRD network.
This hub is particularly important to Asia, as it has experienced a number of natural disasters in recent years. In the past, international aid agencies have taken several days to bring supplies to people in need. This hub, however, is designed to deliver humanitarian relief items within 48 hours of a crisis. Other aid organizations will be able to stock goods and borrow supplies as well, and 39 different agencies have expressed interest in using the facility. It is expected to be completed in 6-12 months.2
There are four other UNHRDs operated around the world to mobilize supplies in response to crises in Italy, the UAE, Panama, and Ghana. While each base is designed for region-specific responses, they can respond to situations anywhere in the world: for example, all UNHRDs sent supplies to Haiti during the first days of the response. 1