Republic of Korea helps keep humanitarian flights in four African countries

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has received US$1.25 million from the Republic of Korea that will help keep humanitarian flights in four African countries as humanitarian needs continue to worsen.

The latest allocation, part of a US$5 million multi-year contribution which runs from 2020 to 2022, will help the WFP-managed United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) maintain crucial air services for the humanitarian communities in Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria and Sudan, WFP said in a statement.

“We are very grateful to the Republic of Korea for the contribution,” says Philippe Martou, WFP’s Chief of Aviation. “When disaster strikes, the humanitarian community’s ability to mount an immediate and effective response is often the difference between life and death. Availability of an efficient air service goes a long way in enabling the response.”

The statement said more than 300 humanitarian and development organizations rely on UNHAS to reach affected populations in 72 destinations across the four countries. In 2020, UNHAS transported 2,000 passengers and performed seven life-saving medical evacuations.

Funding from partners such as the Republic of Korea has boosted UNHAS’ capacity to address the logistics challenges posed by COVID-19 and other access constraints, including cross-border tensions, effects of climate-related disasters, poor road networks, vast distances and damaged infrastructure.

In 2021, UNHAS, continues not only to ensure aid workers and light cargo reach people in need but also plays an essential role as the logistics backbone in national responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, transporting test samples and critical medical supplies on behalf of governments.

Established in 2004, UNHAS serves the humanitarian community where viable air transport is not available.

The service currently runs in 21 countries and transports up to 400,000 passengers to over 400 destinations each year through a fleet of fixed-winged aircraft and helicopters.

In addition to regular services of transporting passenger and light cargo, UNHAS also performs medical and security evacuations. (PANA/NAN)