Operations Update

November 2018


The Logistics Cluster enables global, regional and local actors to meet humanitarian needs.

Before crises, we work with stakeholders in high-risk countries and regions to strengthen local capacities, working with governments and local actors on system-wide preparedness and contingency planning. In crises, where local capacities have been exceeded, we provide leadership, coordination, information management and operational services.

Globally, the Logistics Cluster is a community of partners actively working to overcome logistics constraints, and develop and share best practices and solutions.

Because of its expertise in humanitarian logistics and its field capacity, the World Food Programme was chosen by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee as the lead agency of the Logistics Cluster. In this role, where necessary, WFP acts as a provider of last resort offering common logistics services to all humanitarian responders, ensuring an efficient emergency response, reducing duplication of humanitarian efforts, and saving costs.

The Global Logistics Cluster support team, hosted in the WFP Headquarters in Rome, provides logistics surge capacity and support to the humanitarian community, reinforcing operations on the ground.

The team is also responsible for delivering several trainings aimed at developing the logistics response of the humanitarian community, providing NGO and UN staff with the necessary skills and tools to respond in an emergency.

Stephen Cahill
Global Logistics Cluster Coordinator

Through these trainings, the cluster develops Logistics Cluster Coordinators, Logistics Officers and Information Management Officers, all key figures in an emergency response.

At the field level, the Logistics Cluster is responsible for the coordination and information management of logistics responses. When necessary, the Logistics Cluster coordinates access to common logistics services, facilitating the delivery and storage of supplies.

Throughout 2018, the Logistics Cluster has supported 552 organisations, including national and international NGOs, UN agencies, foundations, civil society organisations and government agencies. This support includes hosting coordination meetings to discuss gaps and bottlenecks and develop common operational solutions; producing and sharing Information Management products to assist in day-to-day activities as well as strategic planning; coordinating humanitarian inter-agency convoys, and facilitating the delivery and storage of relief supplies.

Current field operations include Bangladesh, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Indonesia, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen.





In August 2017, within the space of a single month, 500,000 Rohingya people fled Myanmar’s Rakhine state seeking safety in Bangladesh. After one year, it is estimated that the number of new arrivals has risen to 720,000 people. Humanitarian organisations operating in Cox’s Bazar, in support of the government-led response, currently target 1.3 million people for humanitarian assistance, including host communities in the area.

Since the start of its operation in Bangladesh, the Logistics Sector has been acting as a coordination mechanism, supporting over sixty humanitarian organisations and government institutions with critical common services and key logistics information, including access constraints maps.

While working on the immediate response, the Logistics Sector has also been supporting organisations with their preparedness activities. The exposure to natural hazards, including heavy rains during monsoon and cyclone seasons which cause flooding and infrastructure damage, coupled with the temporary nature of many settlements and shelters represents a continuous challenge to humanitarian logistics operations. Year-round preparedness is therefore vitally important.

In close collaboration with humanitarian partners, the Logistics Sector has facilitated the establishment of free-to-user storage space in three logistics hubs in Cox’s Bazar: Ukhiya and Madhu Chara, both provided by WFP, and Teknaf, managed by Handicap International/Atlas Logistique. In total, 18 MSUs have been made available as common storage for the humanitarian community.

Since the start of the operation in September 2017, the Logistics Sector has coordinated the storage of 29,932 m3 of relief items, including more than two million soap bars and 250,000 blankets, for 24 different actors such as national and international NGOs, and UN agencies.

The common facilities have also been used to preposition relief items as part of monsoon season preparation plans and further support has been provided by loaning 20 containers in several locations for the storage of rapid response goods.

In parallel, the Logistics Sector has been advocating with authorities for the implementation of procedures such as truck weight limits to ensure road access is maintained and relief cargo can reach key locations within and around the camps and makeshift settlements.

In addition, WFP and Better Shelter led two training courses with a total of 28 participants from 13 organisations on the topics of warehouse management and assembly of prefabricated shelters in order to strengthen the capacity of actors on the ground.

The operating environment remains extremely variable. Adaptive coordination, effective assessment and information management activities, as well as a focus on resilience and capacity building are critical going into 2019. The Logistics Sector is working with partners to review its support and to define the scale up that may be required in case of a cyclone affecting Cox’s Bazar.

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Central African Republic

The Logistics Cluster has been active in Central African Republic since 2013, in support of the humanitarian community. Significant logistics constraints, poor infrastructure and a fragile security context make it difficult for humanitarian assistance to reach beneficiaries.

To overcome logistics constraints and ensure the efficient delivery of humanitarian aid, the Logistics Cluster coordinates a logistics platform, providing common transport and storage services. These services are managed by different organisations based on their capacity and presence on the ground.

Road transport of relief items from Bangui, Bambari and Bossangoa is led by Humanity and Inclusion. Première Urgence Internationale is in charge of storage in Bangui, while Solidarités International and Humanity and Inclusion manage MSUs loaned by WFP in Kaga Bandoro, Bambari and Bossangoa.

So far this year, 1,748 mt of humanitarian cargo has been transported and 2,624 m3 has been stored across the common facilities.

The Logistics Cluster also facilitates a common air cargo service, managed by WFP, to deliver life-saving items in hard-to-access areas including Bangassou, Zemio, Obo, Alindao and Bria. As of 31 October, 73 rotations have been performed transporting 313 mt of humanitarian aid to 8 locations. To expedite the delivery of emergency cargo to hard-to-reach locations, the Logistics Cluster and UNHAS have been working to identify airstrips in need of rehabilitation and coordinating the necessary works with Humanity and Inclusion and local authorities.

Transport to hard-to-reach locations is integrated with common storage space. As of October 2018, three MSUs have been deployed to Zemio, Alindao and Bambari to be managed by ACTED, Action Contre la Faim and IOM respectively. The MSUs have been transported to the targeted locations and are expected to become operational by November 2018.

Katja Hildebrand
Logistics Cluster Coordinator

By December 2018, the Logistics Cluster will also start providing support to some infrastructure rehabilitation projects which are crucial to improving logistics operations and the overall delivery of humanitarian assistance to the affected population. These projects, implemented by ACTED, will target broken bridges and have a duration of nine months.

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The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is affected by an extremely complex and long-standing humanitarian crisis requiring continuous efforts from organisations on the ground to respond to the needs of the affected population. In addition, multiple crises such as spikes in conflict, population displacements and health emergencies generate new needs and put a strain on the humanitarian response capacity.

The Logistics Cluster is operational in Kinshasa and in the provincial capitals of Bukavu, Goma, Bunia, Kalémie and Kananga. In DRC, the cluster coordinates the logistics response and provides critical information to improve access and reach to the affected population.

Access is a key challenge in the country. The delivery of relief items to vulnerable populations is deeply affected by the challenges related to covering a vast geographical area with limited logistics infrastructure and networks that are not interconnected and often in poor condition, in addition to general insecurity and conflict.

The Logistics Cluster regularly shares access constraints maps and other relevant updates enabling responders to plan their operations taking into consideration road accessibility and infrastructure damage.

Furthermore, the cluster has been advocating with donors to fund road rehabilitation projects to improve the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

The cluster has also been working on strengthening local capacities through providing training sessions dedicated to building Information Management, GIS and logistics skills critical to improving the quality of the response.

Following the worsening of the situation in the Kasai region, in order to provide support to the humanitarian supply chain, the cluster has been coordinating access to common storage facilities managed by WFP and Humanity and Inclusion in Kananga and Tshikapa, and to road services provided by Humanity and Inclusion. From January to June, 4,120 m3 of relief items were received into storage and 6,199 m3 of cargo was transported to different locations across the country. In total, 32 organisations used common logistics services.

The Logistics Cluster in DRC, as instructed by the Humanitarian Country Team, will initiate Cluster Coordination Performance Monitoring at the beginning of 2019. This process will form the basis for the update of the DRC Logistics Concept Note and Concept of Operations defining the activities for the coming year.

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A magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck Indonesia’s Central Sulawesi province on 28 September 2018, triggering a tsunami and landslides that caused widespread destruction and loss of life, as well as displacing over 200,000 people. The earthquake affected the west coast of Donggala, while the tsunami affected the bay of Palu. In addition, the coastline of Palu City and Sigi district was affected by liquefaction.

To support the government-led response, WFP, as lead of the Global Logistics Cluster, has deployed staff to provide logistics coordination and information management. Based on assessments of the logistics capacity and gaps in the affected areas, the flow of relief items, and given the constraints in accessing the affected population, WFP has also made road transport and temporary storage available to the Government of Indonesia and humanitarian organisations responding to the emergency.

A fleet of 40 trucks has been deployed to facilitate deliveries to different locations within Sulawesi and common warehouse facilities. Four MSUs have been established in Garuda in the centre of Palu city for onward movements to further destinations.

The team on the ground will continue to monitor the situation as well as the needs of the responding organisations. They will also continue to share information on the humanitarian supply chain, gather data on physical access and share relevant maps, and ultimately work to streamline humanitarian efforts to promote the effectiveness of the overall response.

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The Logistics Cluster has been active in Iraq since 2014 providing Information Management, coordination and facilitating access to common logistics services. As the context within Iraq shifts to early recovery efforts, logistics coordination remains key in ensuring that the needs related to these new humanitarian activities are met, while the capacity and resources to address the regular relief efforts are maintained.

Despite some areas becoming more secure, insecurity remains a challenge along with bureaucracy, creating access limitations to program areas. This has a serious impact on the humanitarian supply chain in-country, hampering the timely movement of goods, humanitarian staff, and the provision of services. The Logistics Cluster has been working to clarify import and clearance procedures for different entry points and routes and has engaged in capacity building initiatives for the government and national actors.

While addressing access issues, the cluster has also continued to facilitate storage in key areas, thus allowing humanitarian responders to position relief cargo closer to beneficiaries. From January to October 2018, the Logistics Cluster received 26,510 m3 of humanitarian relief items for storage on behalf of 26 organisations. During the same period, the Logistics Cluster provided up to 11,620 m2 of common storage space in 6 locations in key operational areas including Ninewa, Salah al Din and Anbar governorates. As of the end of October, a total of 36 MSUs are on loan to 11 different actors, including government bodies.

The cluster has also continued to support the humanitarian community with customs clearance procedures through the established One Stop Shop (OSS). The OSS provides a free-of-charge service which includes the facilitation of customs clearance for incoming cargo into the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), and coordination with relevant authorities for the smooth movement of humanitarian aid. From January to August, the OSS processed 480 clearance requests, representing 6,678 mt and US$ 415,722,380 of humanitarian cargo.

Furthermore, in 2018 the Logistics Cluster has worked to strengthen the response capacity of humanitarians via training activities such as the Emergency Logistics Induction Training and the Logistics Response Team Training. Finally, the Logistics Cluster has ensured continuous information exchange among humanitarian responders and effectively communicated about issues such as market availability and road closures, as well as on the status of infrastructure in retaken areas to ensure all actors had the ability to make informed decisions and adjust their planning.

During 2018, demand for logistics services has diminished. Humanitarian organisations have been downscaling their presence, making way for early recovery actors, while the improved situation in the country has allowed for a more predictable supply chain and the resumption of local market capacity. In addition, key actors have increased their response capacities. As such, in 2019 the Logistics Cluster will focus on non-emergency support with a view to transitioning its functions to a logistics sector working group by the end of the year.

In 2019, the Logistics Cluster will work on strengthening the link between government entities and humanitarian organisations (for instance, the OSS will be completely handed over to the KRI Government by April 2019) and on strengthening logistics capacities, particularly of national actors, through trainings. The cluster will also assist in contingency planning and emergency preparedness initiatives.

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Libya has faced six years of political instability, conflict and insecurity, alongside a deteriorating public sector and economy, and prospects remain uncertain in the medium and long term.

In August 2018, fighting in Tripoli led to a new wave of displacement and the ceasefire agreement reached on 4 September remains fragile with reports of several violations. Violent clashes may continue to erupt throughout the country in the lead-up to the planned December presidential elections.

It is estimated that 1.6 million people have been impacted by the crisis so far, with approximately 800,000 in urgent need of humanitarian assistance throughout 2019.

In response to the deteriorating situation inside Libya and following the lifting in February of the evacuation status for UN organisations, humanitarian actors have started relocating back to Libya and scaling up their presence into previously inaccessible areas in order to respond to growing humanitarian needs.

A Logistics Sector Coordinator has been deployed in-country to provide logistics coordination and information management support to responding organisations. Regular coordination meetings will be held in Tunis and Tripoli, depending upon the security situation on the ground and organisations’ presence.

Mapping and assessment of logistics infrastructure such as access roads, airports, ports, border crossings, as well as the compilation of guidance and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) on customs and clearance procedures are some of the activities envisaged to enhance the overall predictability, timeliness and efficiency of the logistics response.

In the meantime, to support increasing humanitarian operations within the country and to allow for pre-positioning of stocks, common storage facilities need to be promptly established, especially in the main hubs of Tripoli, Benghazi, and Sebha.

To date, the Logistics Sector has reached out to a number of humanitarian organisations operating across Libya, held two coordination meetings attended by sixteen organisations and launched a dedicated webpage. The sector will continue to work to enhance information sharing and coordination amongst all actors, both national and international, with a focus on identifying gaps and bottlenecks specific to the different areas covered by humanitarian assistance to ensure the best use of available resources and to avoid duplication of efforts.

Major challenges will continue to be related to security and access constraints, and the volatile context that requires a flexible operational approach and response capacity to adapt to the needs of the humanitarian community.

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Since August 2016, the Logistics Sector in Nigeria has been providing support to the government-led response in the north-east of the country where more than 7.7 million people remain in need of life-saving assistance, many of whom have found temporary shelter in isolated and hard to reach areas (OCHA, August 2018).

Each month, the Logistics Sector civil-military coordination team processes approximately 500 movement notifications through the Nigerian Armed Forces (NAF), which translates into the movement of over 1,500 trucks carrying humanitarian cargo to deep field locations. These notifications are consolidated and sorted into a weekly dispatch plan that is then used to organise humanitarian convoys, and any necessary escorts, across the six key supply routes leading out from Maiduguri. As of 31 October 2018, 6,733 notifications, indicating 25,266 trucks, have been processed on behalf of 32 organisations.

While en route to final distribution points, organisations have the option to temporarily store any cargo in the sector-managed common storage facilities strategically located in Maiduguri, Monguno, Banki, Ngala, Bama, Dikwa and Damasak. These facilities are operated by Acted, Première Urgence Internationale (PUI), INTERSOS, Solidarités International & eHealth Africa, and as of 31 October 57,384 m3 of relief goods have been received for storage.

Given the security risks along main supply routes and the poor road infrastructure, critical humanitarian aid, such as medicines and therapeutic food supplements, is also regularly airlifted from Maiduguri to remote locations throughout Borno state. PUI, in partnership with UNHAS, operates a sector-managed common road transport service in Maiduguri, to collect and consolidate cargo destined for air transport and deliver it to the airport so that it is ready to be airlifted by UNHAS to the identified hard-to-reach locations. As of October 2018, 24 organisations have arranged delivery of their cargo to UNHAS via this service.

Georgia Farley
Information Management Officer, Maiduguri, Nigeria

Ongoing assessments indicate that the main logistics challenges facing humanitarian organisations in the north-east continue to be security constraints, a lack of storage space in field locations, and road status. The latter is exacerbated by the fact that vehicles used for transport are often in poor condition and frequently overloaded, causing breakdowns and loss of assets.

The 2019 Logistics Sector strategy includes a transition of sector-managed services away from Maiduguri where the local market is recovering to key field locations such as Monguno, Bama and Ngala, and increased efforts in reinforcing partners’ capacity, particularly through skills trainings targeted at national staff. Humanitarian access to areas outside of the Local Government Area capitals will also be prioritised, and there will be continuing active support for the civil-military coordination mechanisms established by OCHA.

While the current strategy of the Logistics Sector for north-east Nigeria is fully funded through to the end of 2018, based on the prevailing needs throughout Borno state, in order to ensure the provision of the activities outlined in the 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP), US$ 3.3 million is required. As of 31 October 2018, the project is only 12.5% funded for next year.

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South Sudan

Ongoing insecurity in conjunction with extremely poor transport infrastructure has left humanitarian responders in South Sudan with limited options to deliver life-saving cargo to the displaced populations scattered across the country.

The Logistics Clusters facilitates a range of common services aimed at ensuring the effective delivery of humanitarian aid to the affected population. As of 31 October, the Logistics Cluster, working closely with OCHA and WFP Access Units, coordinated 44 convoys on behalf of the humanitarian community. The convoy schedule has been significantly increased between January and March to maximise the use of the roads during the dry season and facilitate prepositioning in areas that are hard-to-reach or even cut off during the rainy season.

To complement transportation services, WFP, as lead agency of the Logistics Cluster, has made common storage warehouses available to the humanitarian community in several locations across the country and provided MSUs for the strategic prepositioning of relief items based on organisations’ needs.

Because of the access issues which are exacerbated during the rainy season, the Logistics Cluster also facilitates air transport to priority locations with dedicated assets made available by WFP Aviation, bringing large quantities of relief cargo to hard-to-reach locations. From January to October, approximately 23,019 m3 of cargo has been delivered to various locations in South Sudan. Air services are complemented by IOM Common Transport Services which provide shunting to and from airstrips along with transport to access closed sites, as part of the Beyond Wau and Beyond Bentiu responses.

Finally, river transport via barge is made available to humanitarian responders to move larger payloads of Non-Food Items. As of 31 October, 2,057 m3 of relief items have been transported along the Nile river.

South Sudan is a complex, large-scale operation. The Logistics Cluster has been active in the country for several years and these services run effectively, providing valuable support to humanitarian operations in the country.

This year, South Sudan has faced a new challenge following an outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, exposing the country to a significant risk of transmission. An Ebola Preparedness Task Force has been established by the Ministry of Health, and acting as the focal point for WFP South Sudan in Ebola Preparedness, the Logistics Cluster has taken an active role in this Task Force, supporting health partners in mapping border screening centres as well as the capacities of organisations present in Western and Central Equatoria, two locations identified as first priority for preparedness measures.

The cluster has also scaled up the coordination of transport of Ebola-related material and has been working with the WFP Country Office and sub-offices to coordinate Advanced Preparedness Actions. Regional preparedness activities have also been supported by the cluster, with one staff member deployed to Uganda for three months.

Looking towards 2019, the Logistics Cluster is aiming to ensure continuity and reliability in the services made available to the humanitarian community in South Sudan. By trying to reduce the reliance of humanitarian actors on air transport through the reinforcement of road movements and the expansion of the river network for pre-positioning activities, the cluster will work to ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of this unique humanitarian response.

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The Logistics Cluster was activated in Syria in January 2013 in order to facilitate access to crucial logistics services for all operations across the region, including surface transportation, contingency fuel provision and storage, cross-border transhipment services, emergency airlifts, and warehousing.

In September 2014, the Whole of Syria (WoS) approach was adopted following UN Security Council Resolution 2165, bringing together separate regional operations (Jordan, Syria, Turkey and as of 2018 Iraq) into a single framework.

The Logistics Cluster provides coordination support for cross-border operations and transhipment services from Turkey, Iraq and Jordan. In Jordan, this service was provided until June 2018, with transhipment and transport into southern Syria managed by IOM at Ar-Ramtha crossing point. In Turkey and Iraq, transhipment at the crossing points of Bab al Hawa, Bab al Salam and Al Yaroubiyah is managed by WFP.

So far in 2018, a total of 4,288 trucks have been coordinated for transhipment services.

Within Syria, common transport and storage services are provided to the humanitarian community. Together with OCHA and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC), the Logistics Cluster coordinates Inter-Agency humanitarian convoys to hard-to-reach locations and besieged areas, and facilitates access to free-to-user transport to Qamishli, Deir-ez-Zor, Eastern Ghouta, and other newly-accessible areas using WFP assets. As of 31 October this year, seventeen humanitarian convoys have been coordinated.

Making use of WFP warehouses in Aleppo, Homs, Lattakia, Qamishli, Rural Damascus and Tartous, the Logistics Cluster has been coordinating the prepositioning of inter-agency cargo, as well as the temporary storage of relief items before onward movement to further destinations and distribution points. So far this year, a total of 16,720 m3 of relief items have been stored in these common warehouses.

To ensure the effective coordination of a complex response that extends across three countries, and all the accompanying complications of border crossings and different customs regulations, the Logistics Cluster holds regular coordination meetings in Damascus, Amman, Gaziantep and Antakya and has organised trainings across the WoS countries to enhance the capacity of humanitarian responders.

Looking ahead, the Logistics Cluster plans to expand its capacity building role, continuing to organise logistics trainings as well as providing crucial logistical assets to enable the humanitarian community to better support vulnerable populations.

The Logistics Cluster will continue to facilitate access to logistics services across the WoS response, with a focus on newly-accessible areas. A strong regional information management and coordination system will be maintained to ensure a harmonised response across the three countries.

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The Logistics Cluster has been active in Yemen since June 2011, supporting humanitarian responders with Information Management, coordination and access to common logistics services. Throughout this period the situation in Yemen has remained volatile, conflict has escalated, and multiple crises have affected the country including cholera outbreaks, internal displacements and natural disasters.

The Logistics Cluster has been adapting its strategy and activities in coordination with its stakeholders to meet the needs of humanitarian responders and to maintain a reliable and effective logistics response.

In 2018, the cluster has ensured the continued transport of relief items into the country via air services that connect Djibouti to Sana’a and sea services that connect Djibouti to Aden and Hodeidah. From January to October 2018, 4,700 m3 of cargo was transported using WFP-chartered flights, and 7,500 m3 of cargo was transported on board the two WFP-chartered vessels, Vos Apollo and Vos Theia. Cargo has included medicines and medical equipment, vaccines, oral rehydration salts, bed nets, generators, solar vaccine refrigerators, and even ambulances.

The Logistics Cluster has also facilitated road transport across the country, including facilitating all necessary security clearances. So far, 23,900 m3 of humanitarian supplies have been transported on behalf of 22 organisations, covering over 173 locations.

While continuing to facilitate access to common warehouse facilities in Sana’a, Aden and Hodeidah, the cluster has also mobilised 15 MSUs for organisations to borrow and deploy where most needed, to be managed by these organisations as common storage for all interested humanitarian responders. So far, five MSUs have been loaned to IRC, DRC and WHO. Overall, 35,600 m3 of cargo has been accepted into storage in Aden, Hodeidah and Sana’a.

In addition to these services, following the escalation of conflict around Hodeidah in June 2018 and the subsequent increase of humanitarian activities targeting Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), the Logistics Cluster has been tasked with coordinating Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) deliveries to Humanitarian Service Points and Transit Points, established as locations to provide IDPs with relief items. The Logistics Cluster is responsible for cargo consolidation at the common warehouse (compiling WFP IRR, UNICEF hygiene kits and UNFPA transit kits into RRM kits) and the coordination of deliveries of the consolidated cargo to RRM implementing partners. As of 31 October, over 203,700 kits were received and prepared for dispatch.

While the operating context remains volatile, in parallel to coordination and Information Management, in 2019 the Logistics Cluster will continue to facilitate access to a common logistics services platform to ensure that the humanitarian community can reach people in need in Yemen. Services will continue to include airlifts of urgent items from Djibouti, fuel distributions on a cost-recovery basis, land transport and storage across Yemen, and sea cargo transport as needed. In addition, capacity for potential evacuation of staff will be maintained. The Logistics Cluster is also looking to strengthen its capacity building and training programmes in 2019 with a special focus on national organisations.

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