UPS and TNT have offered free warehousing facilities to the United Nations Humanitarian Response Depots.

The UN's World Food Programme had been using TNT's warehouse facilities at Accra's Kotka International Airport in Ghana since October 2006.

UPS provided similar warehousing facilities in Panama's Tocumen International Airport from February 2007.

The Ghana and Panama hubs have already been pressed into active service, says the UN group. "Over the past 12 months, the Ghana facility expeditiously dispatched critical food and non-food items to life-saving humanitarian operations in the Central African Republic, Burkina Faso, Chad, and other countries south of the Sahara," said the UN.

The Panama depot provided relief supplies to Peru and Bolivia in the aftermath of the August earthquake and to Nicaragua in response to Hurricane Felix.

The World Food Programme has established or is establishing five hubs in Brindisi (Italy), Dubai (United Arab Emirates), Panama City (Panama), and Accra (Ghana). Another will be established in Subang, Malaysia.

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