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UN aid agency airlifts emergency gear to Central African Republic from Ghana

18 May 2007 The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced today that it was airlifting 31 metric tons of equipment to the Central African Republic (CAR) as part of expanded efforts to reach over 230,000 people affected by recent violence and displacement.

“In a matter of hours, we are going to move our gear from Accra into CAR, where it will be immediately deployed to support our complex logistics operation there,” said Amer Daoudi, Associate Director of WFP’s transport division.

The equipment from WFP’s Humanitarian Response Depot (HRD) in the Ghanaian capital Accra includes temporary storage facilities, living accommodations and accompanying tool kits, all scheduled to depart today onboard a WFP-chartered Illyushin 76 cargo jet for the three-hour flight to Bangui in CAR.

“This airlift from our Accra Humanitarian Response Depot confirms the importance for WFP of the global network of HRDs we are operating,” said Daoudi. “Airlifting equipment we had pre-positioned in Accra is resulting in huge savings of time and money.”

HRD Accra is part of the Global Network established by WFP to build on the success of the agency’s original UNHRD in Brindisi, to support the emergency response effort of the UN, governments non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Nearly 300,000 people have had to flee their homes in the CAR over the past year because of fighting, banditry and rebel attacks. Many people are living in the open bush, too afraid to return to their former homes.

Today’s airlift is part of an enhancement of logistical capacity for WFP to meet the increased needs in the CAR, for which the agency recently appealed for $3.5 million in addition to its other requests for the country in 2007.

In addition to the new funds required to reinforce logistics, the agency’s current food assistance programme still has a shortage of $25 million for operations in the CAR, one of the world’s poorest countries.

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