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UN aircraft lift over 58,000 passengers in Nigeria in 2018

By Kelechi ONYEMAOBI

Abuja / Maiduguri, Nigeria - 31 December, 2018: The United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) successfully transported over 58,000 passengers by both helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft between January and November 2018 in support of humanitarian efforts in Nigeria.

The UNHAS fixed-wing service focuses on Borno and Adamawa states, two of the three states most affected by ongoing conflict in the Northeast of Nigeria, linking both state capitals with Abuja, the Federal Capital. The helicopter operation provides the humanitarian community in Northeast Nigeria with access to 11 remote and very challenging locations throughout Borno in order to support the implementation and monitoring of humanitarian interventions and life-saving programmes in conflict-affected locations. Passengers transported include humanitarian workers operating in field locations, visiting donors and high-level delegations from within and outside of Nigeria.

UNHAS, managed by the UN World Food Programme (WFP), also air-lifted 62 casualties in need of emergency medical treatment from locations throughout Borno to Maiduguri. In addition to critical trauma cases, severely malnourished internally displaced children were also among those transported.

Within the same period, UNHAS transported over 135,000kg of urgently required cargo as part of the UN’s humanitarian interventions in the hardest-to-reach areas of north east Nigeria.

“Running an operation of this large scale is extremely complex. We receive on weekly basis hundreds of flight requests coming from more than 56 humanitarian organizations. I’ve watched the operation grow over time since 2015 when we came to set up, and I’m in no doubt that the work we do in UNHAS is saving lives,” says Bruce Walker, Chief Air Transport Officer. “The success of every humanitarian sector, whether it be the delivery of medical services, clean water, logistics or food, depends on the air support we provide. That’s why UNHAS Nigeria is here to support.”

To sustain its operations, UNHAS urgently requires US$7 million net funding through June 2019. Indeed, UNHAS is fully reliant upon the support of international donors such as Belgium, Canada, the European Union (EU), Germany, the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund (NHF), Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, UNCERF and the United States government (USAID) to continue its operations.