UN funds 3 million donation facilitates aid flights in Somalia

A $3 million contribution from a United Nations humanitarian fund will help facilitate the delivery of badly needed aid to Somalia, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) said today.The contribution from the UN Central Emergency Revolving Fund (CERF) “means that agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) will be able to send more staff and more assistance by air – something that is essential during the current long rains, especially with the recent increased needs arising from the fighting in Mogadishu,” said WFP Somalia Country Director Peter Goossens in Nairobi.WFP manages the UN Common Air Service, which makes regular flights into and out of Somalia from neighbouring Kenya and internal flights within Somalia carrying both humanitarian workers and cargo. The new CERF funding will underwrite part of the costs for passengers and all the costs for cargo that until now have been paid in full by agencies and partner NGOs using the service. In addition, the CERF donation will pay for the emergency rehabilitation of the airstrip at Wajid in southwestern Somalia to avoid its imminent closure. Wajid is the only continuously accessible airstrip in south and central Somalia and is a vital hub for humanitarian assistance, WFP said. The United Nations estimates that nearly 400,000 people fled Mogadishu between 1 February and the end of April. In addition to the people forced to leave their homes in Mogadishu by fierce fighting, WFP aims to feed some 850,000 people in other parts of Somalia during 2007. 5 June 2007A $3 million contribution from a United Nations humanitarian fund will help facilitate the delivery of badly needed aid to Somalia, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) said today. read more