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‘UNHAS lifted 58, 000 passengers in northeast last year’

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[FILES] UNHAS. Photo: WFP/Nathalie Magnien

The United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) has disclosed that it successfully transported over 58,000 passengers in 2018, as part of its humanitarian efforts in Nigeria.

In a statement in Abuja yesterday, the UN said passengers transported included humanitarian workers operating in field locations, visiting donors and high-level delegations from within and outside of Nigeria.

The body said it used both helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft to carry out the operation between January and November 2018.

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The UNHAS fixed-wing service focuses on Borno and Adamawa states, two of the three states most affected by ongoing conflict in the Northeast, that link both state capitals with Abuja.

The statement said the helicopter operation provides the humanitarian community in Northeast with access to 11 remote and very challenging locations.

It is done throughout Borno to support the implementation and monitoring of humanitarian interventions and life-saving programmes in conflict-affected locations.

UNHAS, managed by the UN World Food Programme (WFP), said it also airlifted 62 casualties in need of emergency medical treatment from locations in Borno to Maiduguri.

In addition to critical trauma cases, severely malnourished internally displaced children were also among those transported, the statement said.

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Within the same period, UNHAS said it transported over 135,000kg of urgently required cargo, as part of the UN’s humanitarian interventions in the hardest-to-reach areas of north east Nigeria.

It said: “Running an operation of this large scale is extremely complex. We receive on weekly basis hundreds of flight requests coming from more than 56 humanitarian organisations.

“I’ve watched the operation grow over time since 2015 when we came to set up, and I’m in no doubt that the work we do in UNHAS is saving lives,” says Bruce Walker, Chief Air Transport Officer.

He added: “The success of every humanitarian sector, whether it be the delivery of medical services, clean water, logistics or food, depends on the air support we provide. That’s why UNHAS Nigeria is here to support.”

To sustain its operations, UNHAS revealed that it urgently requires US$7 million net funding up to June 2019.

While assuring of its continuous humanitarian work in the country, UNHAS appealed for more donation.

He added that it is fully reliant on the support of international donors as Belgium, Canada, the European Union (EU), Germany, the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund (NHF), Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, UNCERF and the United States government (USAID) to continue its operations.


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