27 June 2010 The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) opened its Emergency Operation Centre this weekend to Prince Harry of the United Kingdom, who got a firsthand look at how the UN agency uses mapping technology to coordinate relief and rescue, such as during the Haiti earthquake in January, from New York.
“In all emergencies, it is children that are the hardest hit,” said Hilde Johnson, Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF, who yesterday accompanied Prince Harry on his visit.
In a statement, UNICEF said it had invited Prince Harry to visit the operations centre due to his interest in learning how aid organizations function during emergencies.
The Prince is a patron of a non-governmental organization based out of the United Kingdom which provides frequently updated situation maps showing where relief help is more urgently needed.
During the tour, Prince Harry met key staff and saw some of the emergency supplies UNICEF sends to children in crises, including the “School in a box” kit which contains emergency learning materials for forty children.
UNICEF responds to an average of 200 emergencies every year, and this year has appealed for more than $1.2 billion to continue its life saving work in 28 of the world's most pressing cities.
“Without it, children will continue to suffer. We cannot allow that to happen,” Ms. Hilde added.
The Prince's visit to the UN complex in New York comes one week before his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, is scheduled to address the 192-member UN General Assembly.
As the head of State of the United Kingdom and 15 other UN Member States, this will be only the second time that the Queen addresses the General Assembly since 1957.
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