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UN food agency launches inaugural airlift from Ghana to refugees in Chad

UN food agency launches inaugural airlift from Ghana to refugees in Chad

Preparing emergency aid for airlift
The United Nations food agency today transported crucial relief supplies for hundreds of thousands of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in an inaugural emergency airlift from the Ghanaian capital to N’Djamena, Chad.

Once the 26 tons of high energy biscuits and three mobile storage tents reach N’Djamena, the supplies will travel overland across Chad to Abeche, in the eastern part of the country. From there, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) provides urgently-needed support to over 300,000 people who have been internally displaced or forced to flee due to ongoing conflict in Sudan’s war-torn Darfur region bordering Chad on the east.

Today’s airlift launched from the UN Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD) in Accra, one of a network of five proposed hubs worldwide designed to respond to four major crises around the world at any given time. Currently, two such hubs, in Italy and Dubai, are already functioning, and the remaining two, in Panama and Malaysia, will be operational in the first half of this year.

“This first airlift from Accra to N’Djamena shows that Ghana is strategically well placed for a UNHRD with a positive impact on the West Africa region,” asserted Amer Daoudi, Associate Director of the Operations and Transport Divisions at WFP headquarters in Rome.

Mr. Daoudi also lauded the further potential benefits of the scheme of “drastically reducing both costs and response time in an emergency.”

This airlift comes at a critical time, as more than 20,000 Chadians have been forced from their homes in the past month, half of them by cross-border attacks by alleged Janjaweed militia from Sudan.