UN Humanitarian Air Services: The Backbone Of Humanitarian Assistance In Mauritania

Published on 29 November 2017

NOUAKCHOTT – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomes contributions from Denmark, the European Union (ECHO), Spain, and the United States of America (Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration) that have supported United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) operations in Mauritania this year. The US$2.8 million in contributions made by these donors have been instrumental in keeping the life-saving service in operation in 2017.

“These contributions reflect the commitment of donors in ensuring that aid workers reach areas across the country where their help is needed most by vulnerable people," said WFP Representative and Country Director Jean-Noël Gentile.

UNHAS is the sole provider of humanitarian air services in Mauritania, and has played a crucial role for the implementation and monitoring of humanitarian projects in the country since 2012. Long distances, insecurity and poor road infrastructure pose challenges to travel within Mauritania, making UNHAS the backbone of 40 humanitarian organizations’ activities. The service provides access to otherwise hard-to-reach locations and vulnerable Mauritanians in need of assistance.

To continue UNHAS operations in Mauritania through the first quarter of 2018, US$900,000 is urgently needed. Should new funding not be secured, UNHAS will be forced to shut down its services on 31 December 2017.

UNHAS requires US$3.4 million to maintain its operations in 2018.

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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food in emergencies and working with communities to build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.

To learn more about WFP activities in Mauritania: www.wfp.org/countries/mauritania

To learn more about UNHAS: https://www.wfp.org/logistics/aviation/unhas-current-operations

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For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@wfp.org):  
Vanessa Rizzi, WFP/Mauritania, Tel. +222 44400005
Simon Pierre Diouf, WFP/Dakar, Tel. + 221 776375964