This Operation has been modified as per Budget Revision 1 (see below).
In recent large emergencies WFP/UNHAS helicopter assets were vital in ensuring the delivery of life saving relief items to affected populations who could not otherwise be reached using surface transport means. In emergency situations the timely deployment of air assets is essential for the humanitarian community to respond to the emergency and carry out life saving activities. In order to improve the humanitarian community's ability to respond in a timely and efficient manner and initiate life saving activities at the onset of the emergency, the lead-time for the deployment of helicopters needs to be reduced.
Helicopter assets are not always available in the country or region where they are required. Shifting helicopter assets around the globe is a costly exercise and, in times of emergency, valuable days are lost dismantling, freighting reassembling and testing before such assets can be put into use. Market competition also increases during large emergencies, driving up prices.
Lead times for the deployment of helicopters can be reduced using the two-pronged approach which will be implemented through this special operation. The first is a fleet of two pre-contracted helicopters, on standby in Entebbe, Uganda for use by the humanitarian community through WFP/UNHAS, available for immediate deployment within the regionally and further afield is required. In addition to this, WFP/UNHAS presence in Asia and Central and South America will be increased to improve regional knowledge of commercial air operators and aviation infrastructure and allow the pre-screening and education of air operators in WFP/UNHAS procedures. This will facilitate the preparation of rosters of air operators with the capacity for rapid mobilization within these regions, thereby reducing the need for the expensive and time consuming positioning of aircraft from outside the region.
The special operation is for duration of 18 months, from 15 July 2011 to 31 December 2012, at a total budgeted cost of US$ 9,337, 398.