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WFP hails donation to crucial humanitarian air operation

WFP has welcomed a €500,000 contribution from the European Commission Humanitarian Aid department, ECHO, for the agency’s vital air service in support of its operations in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Cote d’Ivoire.

WFP has welcomed a €500,000 contribution from the European Commission Humanitarian Aid department, ECHO, for the agency’s vital air service in support of its operations in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Cote d’Ivoire.

Regular commercial air connections within and between the four countries are either non-existent or extremely unreliable and the WFP passenger service is crucial for the transportation of humanitarian personnel and emergency supplies.

“We are extremely grateful to ECHO for continuing to recognise the importance of this operation to the humanitarian effort as these countries seek to recover fully from the devastating impact of war,” said WFP West Africa Regional Director, Mustapha Darboe.

Largest single donor

ECHO has now contributed almost €2.6 million (US$2 million) over the past two years, making it the largest single donor to the air operation outside the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). More than 130 UN agencies, NGOs and donor governments have benefited from the service since January 2005.

As well as regular passenger flights, the air service is vital for medical and security evacuations (the service was particularly critical during the political crisis in Guinea earlier this year) and for the transport of high-energy foods and perishable goods such as medical supplies.