- A $1 million in funding from the United States for the United Nations-run aid flights operating in Chad, will help humanitarian workers assisting over 430,000 vulnerable people in the West African nation.
The UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) has continued to play a vital role in accessing remote locations and in cases where insecurity prevents travel by road. Last month the agency announced it was on the verge of grounding all its services due to lack of funding.
Run by the World Food Programme (WFP), the service flies aid workers from the UN and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), as well as journalists and others, to some of the hardest-to-reach emergency operations around the world.
In Chad alone, some 5,000 aid workers per month use UNHAS to help 250,000 refugees from the war-torn Sudanese region of Darfur, as well as 180,000 internally displaced persons.
WFP’s Emilia Casella told reporters in Geneva that despite the new funds, the service would shut down half of its operations by 15 September, and be grounded altogether by 30 September, without more resources.
The Chad flights need another $5.7 million to stay in the air until the end of the year, she noted.
With the 2009 budget of $160 million, the air service operates in Chad, Sudan, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, the Central African Republic (CAR), West Africa and Afghanistan.
In February, the UNHAS was forced to shut down its operations in Côte d’Ivoire due to lack of funds. In the same month, Niger also saw flights come to an end, but were set resume this month from an injection of funds from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).
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