At Least 40 Helicopters Needed To Reach Communities Stranded By Pakistan Floods

Published on 21 August 2010

ISLAMABAD – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today estimates that it requires at least 40 additional heavy-lift helicopters in Pakistan to reach the huge number of people cut off from land assistance by the recent floods with desperately needed emergency food and other humanitarian supplies.

Many communities are completely inaccessible by land either because of the current floodwaters, or because roads and bridges have been washed away.

“We need more of these lifesavers,” said WFP Pakistan Country Director Wolfgang Herbinger. “Helicopters are the only way to deliver supplies into many areas which is why we’re already using every aircraft currently available to us.”

Delivery capacity by air will be boosted in the coming days as Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has agreed to provide as many additional air assets as possible to WFP, as they become available.

WFP is also due to fly in the first three of five helicopters to Pakistan on Sunday, which will be operational as soon as possible as part of a dedicated fleet to deliver food and other assistance. These are the first in what will be a fleet managed by the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS).

WFP is the international humanitarian community’s lead agency for logistics and is managing all available air assets in Pakistan to move not only food, but also other urgently required relief items, including shelter material.