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Humanitarian Air Service in Support of Relief Operations in Somalia

This Operation has been modified and extended in time until December 31 2011 as per Budget revision 04 (see below).

Somalia is a least developed, low-income, food-deficit country. The situation in the south is aggravated by civil strife, insecurity and drought, while areas along the Juba River suffer from floods.

The unstable political situation in Somalia has resulted in a high level of insecurity, which continues to make the availability of a humanitarian air service crucial to:

  • support relief programs and deliver humanitarian assistance in Somalia;
  • ensure aircraft capacity remains continuously available in Somalia and in Kenya for medical and security evacuations.

The necessity to operate regular services to remote locations, with inherent low load factors to ensure continuity of the delivery of humanitarian
assistance, has always made the service highly expensive in spite of continuous operational adjustments with the aim of optimizing the costefficiency
ratio.

The recent events in Somalia, including the resurgence of hostilities, destruction of aircraft and piracy on the high seas, further compounded by
increasing aviation costs and unfavorable exchange rates, have highlighted the restrictions of the existing cost-sharing mechanism. WFP has estimated that a 35% increase of already prohibitive ticket prices would be immediately needed to ensure financial sustainability of the operation.

Such an increase would prevent access to the service by most of the users thus putting UNCAS at risk of financial collapse, due to the resulting and continuously deteriorating load factors.

To cater for this situation, the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and Australian funds have recently been allocated to UNCAS to subsidize transport rates and ensure continued access to the service by all agencies.

The purpose of this Special Operation is to allow WFP to accept contributions from donors to cover the expected shortage of funding to pursue the much needed operations during the next two years at a similar level and at a limited cost for the users, at no more than US$ 600 per ticket.

Contributions are also sought to support the conversion of UNCAS into a standard WFP/UNHAS – Humanitarian Air Service in line with ICAO and the internal WFP auditors’ recommendations.