News / Africa

UN to Shutdown Critical Air Service to West Africa

TEXT SIZE - +

The World Food Program says it will have to shut down the U.N. Humanitarian Air Service in the west African countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia because it has run out of cash. 

The World Food Program says shutting down the Humanitarian Air Service on Wednesday will have terrible consequences for about one-quarter of a million people in west Africa who rely on the service for essential needs.  The U.N. agency says the West African Coastal service needs $2.5 million to stay in operation until the end of the year.

WFP spokeswoman Emilia Casella says the shutdown will have a dramatic effect. "People in the really far-flung parts of Guinea and Sierra Leone and Liberia - they will be waiting for medical attention that will not arrive," she said. "They will be waiting for educational support, for water and sanitation engineers to help them with their wells.  They will be waiting for people who help to train local community leaders because these are countries that are recovering from years of conflict and trying to rebuild."  

Casella says this kind of progress can be impeded without the support of non-governmental organizations, U.N. agencies, and voluntary humanitarian organizations that help.  

"Even though they are small programs, they are important programs to these countries," she said.  And, right now, Guinea is in a moment of election and this is a delicate time to be stopping that kind of support."  

Casella notes the roads in these countries are so bad it can take three to five days to travel 1,000 kilometers.  And, to add to the existing problems, the rainy season is starting.  She says this will make many of the roads practically impassable for six or seven months.

The U.N. Humanitarian Air Service flies aid workers, journalists, and others to some of the hardest to reach emergency operations in the world.  It currently operates in six African countries, as well as Haiti and Afghanistan.

The West African Coastal service was serving about 500 passengers per month.  Casella says even if a donor were to come along with the needed cash right now, it would be too late.  She says once the service is shut down, it will take five to six months to restart it.

You May Like

Abuja Blast Impacts Lives, Livelihoods

Officials say they are looking at ways to help bombing victims and boosting security More

Cambodia Technology Adviser Criticizes Cybercrime Draft Law

Phu Leewood says current criminal code can be used to prosecute offenders and that there is no need for a separate law More

Photogallery A Year Later, Boston Remembers Deadly Marathon Bombings

City pauses to honor victims and salute emergency workers who came to their assistance in frantic moments after blasts More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid