Infrastructural hurdles – especially road accessibility, makes it very difficult to offer aid to some hard to reach communities in Mauritania, Mali, and Niger. United Nations Humanitarian Air Services (UNHAS) under the management of the United Nations World Food Programme has therefore resorted to air transport as an effective means to get to these disadvantaged communities. In support of their work, the Government of Spain has donated 100,000 Euros to each of these nations – Mauritania, Mali, and Niger to aid the transport of very important light weight cargo, including medical supplies, specialized nutrition products, and telecommunications equipment form the countries capital’s to these remote locations. In addition, the funding will assist in frequent transport of humanitarian staff working for UN agencies and their partners, Non-Governmental Organizations, and also officials from donor countries and journalists to get to the vulnerable people in distant and unsafe locations.
The Director of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) commented that the work of the UNHAS is very critical for humanitarian staff and workers to reach vulnerable people in unsafe locations. In the midst of diverse security hurdles, UNHAS is available to facilitate safe travel for staff and supply of important supplies. He mentioned that the Spanish government fully support what UNHAS is doing and thus, the contribution which amounts to 300,000 Euros from the Spanish people are given to provide help to the most in need.
The World Food Programme (WFP) is known to be the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide – assisting over 80 million people in and around 80 nations. In the Sahel region, they operate flights with each if the capitals in the region to various other destination, making it easy for humanitarians to get access to many distant communities. Next year, the UNHAS will still need more than 10 million USD to support its activities within the Sahel region.
“WFP aviation services are essential in many places where alternative transport is non-existent or insufficient to support life-saving activities carried out by humanitarian organizations,” said Eric Perdison, Chief of WFP Aviation. He furthered to say that “Spain, among other donors, fully understands our role in providing humanitarian access, and WFP is grateful for the diverse support which Spain provides annually to our operations.”