Japan supports UN humanitarian air service in Sudan

By World Food Programme (WFP)
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The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomed a contribution of US$1.7 million from Japan to the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) in Sudan, which is managed by WFP.

The contribution will help WFP continue to provide a reliable and safe air service through UNHAS to humanitarian workers and facilitate travel to remote and hard-to-reach locations across Darfur and in central and eastern Sudan.

“Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile States are the worst affected by food insecurity as violence has disrupted agriculture and destroyed livelihoods. There are scores of people across Sudan in need of humanitarian assistance due to natural disasters,” said H.E. Mr. Hideki Ito, the Ambassador of Japan to Sudan. “I hope our donation to UNHAS will contribute to facilitating humanitarian operations and help people affected by conflicts and disasters to regain peaceful lives.”

The Government of Japan has always shown strong support to WFP Sudan. Since 2007, Japan has contributed some US$126 million to WFP's emergency operations in Sudan in addition to US$20 million for common services that benefit the entire humanitarian community such as the building of roads and provision of a safe and reliable air service (UNHAS).

“This contribution reflects the commitment of the Government of Japan and its people to the humanitarian community in Sudan who rely on UNHAS to carry out their indispensable work in the country,” said WFP Sudan Representative and Country Director Adnan Khan. “These timely funds will help WFP maintain an air service that is part and parcel of our operations in Sudan and is crucial for humanitarian work across Sudan.”

In 2015, UNHAS carried 37,129 passengers - half of them UN staff and the remainder mostly NGO staff, in addition to a small number of government officials, donor representatives and diplomats.

Established in Sudan in 2004, UNHAS is run by a steering committee comprising representatives of UN agencies, NGOs and donors, but is directly managed by WFP Sudan.On average, UNHAS transports 3,500 passengers and 20 metric tons of light cargo each month to more than 40 locations in Sudan. It also provides medical and security evacuations when needed.

The humanitarian air service relies on a fleet of six aircraft (two fixed-wing aircraft and four helicopters) based in Khartoum, Nyala, El-Fasher and Geneina. While the fixed-wing aircraft provide air shuttle services from Khartoum to the three Darfur state capitals, the helicopters facilitate humanitarian travel to areas that are inaccessible by road, either due to insecurity or poor road conditions.