UNHAS

World Food Programme (WFP) has called for additional funding to provide humanitarian responders in hard-to-reach areas in Guinea and Niger with support.

WFP said U.S.$6.4 million is urgently required to ensure crisis-affected communities in the countries are not cut off from life-saving aid at a time of unprecedented humanitarian needs.

The United Nations entity, in a statement, warned that its UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) will be forced to cease operations in the countries by August 2022 if additional funding was not provided.

The WFP-managed UNHAS is a common service for the entire humanitarian community that provides crucial transport links for humanitarian responders to the world’s most remote and challenging locations.

It is understood that the crisis in Ukraine has led to increased fuel prices, resulting in a higher-than-expected costs required for the maintenance and running of UNHAS aircraft.

According to WFP, following the outbreak of Lassa fever on 29 April, 2022, the government of Guinea requested UNHAS to assist with transporting tests and other medical items from Bissau to Conakry.

‘The common humanitarian services provided by UNHAS have become indispensable for humanitarian and health responders tackling recurrent outbreaks of deadly diseases such as Ebola, Lassa, and Marburg epidemics in the remote forest region of Guinea’, WFP’s Country Director in Guinea, Hyoung-Joon LIM, said.

‘Poor and impassable roads remain a real challenge to movements within the country. Support to UNHAS is absolutely essential so that humanitarian assistance can be delivered to vulnerable communities in hard-to-reach areas of the country’.

The March 2022 Cadre Harmonisé food security analysis also showed that 4.4 million people are projected to face acute food insecurity in Niger during the June to August 2022 lean season.

‘The power of the collective can shift the needle in the right direction and make a difference in the lives of the most vulnerable families. We need to act now to make our work in Niger more efficient and relevant than ever’, WFP’s Country Director in Niger, Jean-Noël Gentile, noted.

Established in 2004, UNHAS service currently runs in 22 operations and transports up to 400,000 passengers across over 300 regular destinations each year.

Source: WFP

Photo source: WFP/​​​Elizabeth Bryant

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