Prince William and wife tour aid supply centre in Denmark

2nd November 2011, Comments 0 comments

Britain's Prince William and his wife Catherine made their first overseas humanitarian trip Wednesday when they visited a UN aid depot in Copenhagen serving drought-hit East Africa.

After having lunch with Denmark's Crown Prince Frederik and his Australian-born wife, Crown Princess Mary, the British royals and their Danish hosts toured UNICEF's emergency supply centre in Denmark.

The visit aimed to "help maintain the global spotlight on the humanitarian crisis in East Africa, which has left more than 320,000 children so severely malnourished that they are at imminent risk of starving to death unless they get urgent help," according to a UNICEF statement.

The supply centre, which contains a warehouse the size of three football pitches, sources, packs and distributes supplies including food, water and vaccines, for children around the world.

Princess Catherine, dressed in a long red coat, and Crown Princess Mary, wearing black, carried bouquets of flowers as they arrived at the centre.

The royal couples were first briefed on the workings of the depot and the situation on the ground in East Africa, before getting a taste of high-protein peanut paste intended for malnourished children.

They also pitched in and helped pack cardboard boxes of supplies, as workers at the centre explained what they contained and why.

The British couple and their hosts were also scheduled to watch a British Airways Boeing 747 being loaded with 45 tonnes of food and medical supplies before it leaves for the region, where millions of people face starvation, mostly in lawless Somalia.

A spokesman for the couple said the decision to visit "has come about at short notice following the worsening crisis in East Africa."

After marrying in April, William and Catherine made their first overseas trip together to Canada and California in July, but this is their first joint visit in support of a humanitarian cause outside Britain.

The United Nations estimates that more than 13 million people are in need of food assistance in East Africa. The region is suffering from its worst drought in years, which some experts link to climate change.

The couple have an emotional attachment to the region as it was during a holiday in Kenya last year that William proposed, using an engagement ring that belonged to his mother, the late Princess Diana.

© 2011 AFP

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