An UNHAS plane on the runway in Ethiopia. UNHAS, which is managed by WFP, was forced to to suspend flights in C.A.R. when fuel deliveries stopped.
(Copyright: WFP/Melese Awoke)
BANGUI - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today airlifted 50,000 litres of jet fuel from Nairobi to Bangui to continue providing life-saving assistance to the most vulnerable people in the Central African Republic (C.A.R.), gripped by a fuel shortage.
Due to security and administrative reasons, fuel deliveries by commercial trucks to C.A.R. from Cameroon have been interrupted. This has forced the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS), which is managed by WFP, to suspend flights since 23 April, putting WFP and other humanitarian assistance in jeopardy.
Today’s flight carried 50,000 litres of Jet A-1 fuel from Nairobi to Bangui at a cost of US$280,000 (US $200,000 for transportation and US$80,000 for fuel). This will cover UNHAS needs for three weeks.
“This airlift adds a huge additional cost to our operations in C.A.R., but we had no choice. Hundreds of thousands of people need our assistance in Bangui and in the interior of the country, and UNHAS is essential to the entire humanitarian community,” said Denise Brown, WFP Regional Director for West Africa.
UNHAS transports an average of 1,800 passengers to 27 locations each month in C.A.R. and is vital to humanitarian staff movement and emergency evacuation. UNHAS also transports specialised nutritional products to remote areas to prevent and treat malnutrition.
In addition to the shortage of jet fuel, C.A.R. is experiencing a serious lack of fuel for land transport. If road deliveries do not resume soon, WFP fuel stocks for cars and trucks will be exhausted within three weeks, compromising the timely delivery of food and humanitarian assistance.
“We hope an agreement can be reached between drivers, oil companies, the government and all other parties involved to ensure deliveries resume as soon as possible,” added Brown.
WFP provides life-saving assistance to people in C.A.R., including nutrition support for up to 25,000 children suffering from chronic and moderate acute malnutrition. Two-thirds of those receiving assistance are in rural areas outside of Bangui, including in Bambari, Bossangoa, Bouar, Kaga Bandoro and Paoua provinces.
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WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. On average, WFP reaches more than 90 million people with food assistance in 80 countries each year.