Following the announcement by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon that half of the international staff of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) will be relocated from Kabul for security reasons, the International Humanitarian City (IHC) in Dubai has accepted the UN Secretary-General’s request for assistance in providing facilities for UN staff.

The Secretary-General ordered the temporary relocation of staff in Kabul, after the killing of five workers in a pre-dawn attack on a guesthouse in the capital last week.

In all, 200 of the UN’s staff will relocate to the International Humanitarian City in Dubai. The first batch of 25 staff arrived in Dubai on Sunday night (8 November).

Most of the evacuated staff will be based at the International Humanitarian City, a logistical hub set up by Dubai after the Indian Ocean tsunami to support UN and NGO emergency operations. On the orders of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the Dubai Government is facilitating the rapid provision of accommodation and ancillary services for the inbound UN staff.

UN Messenger of Peace HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, wife of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, is Chairperson of the IHC. In welcoming the evacuees to Dubai, Princess Haya said, “The IHC is pleased to host and assist our UN colleagues from Kabul after this terrible assault. Our hearts go out to the families of those killed. The number of attacks on humanitarian workers has escalated in the last few years and we must all work with the UN to find more effective ways to counter this disturbing trend and provide better support to all the victims.”

In total 600 of the 1,200 UN international staff in Afghanistan are being moved to secure locations outside the country, or to safer areas within the country, for at least three weeks. The attack on UN staff by the Taliban is the most direct since aid agencies set up a major presence in Afghanistan decades ago.

Temporary offices will be set up at the International Humanitarian City with assistance from the UN World Food Programme which has a permanent presence at the IHC. The Government of Dubai has arranged for counseling and dedicated medical and personal assistance for evacuated staff. The IHC is ideally suited to provide this type of emergency facility and consequently, IHC staff do not anticipate any disruption to its ongoing activities due to the relocation.