UNHAS Funding Will Only Run For One Month: UNOCHA

A WFP helicopter with humanitarian food supplies. UNHAS is the sole facilitator and provider of humanitarian flights to several parts of South Sudan in enhancing delivery of services. [Gurtong | File]

In a statement released today, the UNOCHA said last minute funding rescued UNHAS from suspending all flights in South Sudan from 1 February as insufficient funding threatened to ground the air service, risking paralysing aid delivery to some 3.3 million people across the country.

“However, available funding can only sustain the air service up to the end of February. UNHAS requires US$3.5 million per month to operate, or $40 million until the end of 2013 to keep flights in the air,” said the statement.

South Sudan government however, yesterday said the UNHAS operations will not stop as donors have committed themselves to ensure the sustainability of the operations in the country.

The aid agencies said UNHAS is a critical component of the relief operation in South Sudan, one of the most difficult environments in which to deliver humanitarian assistance.

Many people in South Sudan live in hard-to-reach locations according to the aid agencies which are inaccessible by road, or too insecure to reach by road travel.

During the rainy season, up to 60 per cent of the country is inaccessible by road leaving air services as the only option to delivery aid.

Additionally in 2012, UNHAS carried out 110 medical evacuations to people with life-threatening injuries. It also transported over 343 metric tones of lifesaving aid including medicine and food.

Over 230 relief organizations relied on the air service in 2012 to respond to emergencies, many of which simply would not have been able to reach communities in crisis without the service.

UNHAS is the sole facilitator and provider of humanitarian flights to several parts of South Sudan in enhancing delivery of services. The NGO community in South Sudan relies on UNHAS services to support their activities which provide millions of South Sudanese with basic and emergency services.

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