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article imageWFP Humanitarian Air Service in Jeopardy

By Bob Ewing     Sep 2, 2008 in World
World Food Programme (WFP) warned that vital air services providing humanitarian support to hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people in West Africa are jeopardised by a shortage of funds.
The World food Programme (WFP) has advised vital air services providing humanitarian support to hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people in West Africa are jeopardised by a shortage of funds.
The United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) is in urgent need of US$5.1 million to maintain its service transporting aid workers throughout the region.
The humanitarian air service is also crucial for medical and security evacuations
“As well as providing transport for aid workers, the humanitarian air service is also crucial for medical and security evacuations. A disruption of these operations in West Africa will have serious consequences for the people in need of assistance, and also for the security of our staff,” said Thomas Yanga, Regional Director for WFP in West Africa.
The rising cost of fuel has placed an additional financial burden on UNHAS in West Africa, and the lack of donor funds has resulted in flights being suspended in some countries.
In the Central African Republic (CAR), where WFP is assisting 300,000 vulnerable people, one airplane has been grounded and a second will have to fly a limited schedule.
Donor appeals have not worked and the operation which requires US$2.6 million for the next 6 months is at high risk of shutting down by September.
As well, the UNHAS serving the West African coastal region is threatened and urgently requires US$2.5 million in funds if it is to continue operating until the end of the year.
During the height of the rainy season in CAR, the UNHAS is often the only way for aid workers to travel. Roads become impassable and whole parts of the country – especially the north-eastern region which borders Darfur and eastern Chad – are completely cut off from the capital Bangui. UNHAS has transported more than 1,700 aid workers in CAR since the beginning of this year.
UNHAS operations in West Africa have received the following funding since the beginning of the year: CERF ($2.5 million), USA ($100,000), ECHO ($ 777,000)
More about West africa, Air service, Humanitarian aid
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