UNITED NATIONS NATIONS UNIES Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs UNITED NATIONS ASSISTANCE FOR UNITED STATES RELIEF EFFORTS (New York, 6 September): The United Nations has initially mobilized three inter-agency teams to work on logistics and coordination in conjunction with United States authorities, having been informed on 3 September of the United States’ acceptance of the Organization’s offer of assistance. Additional deployments may occur within the next few days, given the United States’ decision to establish a larger inter-agency assistance hub in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and a forward aid distribution centre in Kessla, near New Orleans. At present, a United Nations inter-agency liaison team is based in the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Hurricane Katrina Operations Centre in Arlington, Virginia. The other teams will be deployed in support of USAID/Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), at the United States Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)’s Regional Coordination Centres in Texas and Georgia. The inter-agency teams fielded in Texas and Georgia are comprised of representatives from the World Food Programme (WFP), Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), World Health Organization (WHO), and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), as well as support teams from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)/United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) network. In order to coordinate its response, the United Nations assembled an inter-agency task force on 2 September, chaired by the OCHA, and composed of the UNICEF, WHO, WFP, UNHCR, UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). For further information, please call: Stephanie Bunker, OCHA-New York, 917 367 5126, mobile 917 892 1679; Kristen Knutson, OCHA-New York, 917 367 9262; Elizabeth Byrs, OCHAGeneva, +41 22 917 2653, mobile +41 79 473 4570.
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