As part of its response to the tsunami, WFP launched a Special Operation – valued at US$42.5 million – to provide air support for humanitarian organisations directly involved in tsunami relief operations.
The service is known as the UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) and is run under the auspices of WFP. It carries passengers and cargo around Aceh and Nias.
In Indonesia, UNHAS carried almost 40,000 passengers up to the end of October – averaging 5,000 per month since April. UNHAS has also transported around 1,000 tons of cargo.
UNHAS currently operates 2 helicopters and 3 fixed-wing airplanes. These aircraft are still required because of the ongoing humanitarian operations on the islands of Nias and Simeulue and because some places in Aceh – such as Calang – are still inaccessible by road.
The operation will continue until the end of 2006.
Flights for media
UNHAS aircraft fly to Banda Aceh, Calang, Meulaboh, Nias, Simeulue and Medan.
Accredited UN agencies and non-governmental organisations can request that journalists be allowed to travel on the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service by submitting an official Passenger Movement Form 48 hours before the flight. Journalists should not contact UNHAS directly.
UNHAS does its best to accommodate all passengers, but since demand for flights is very high, priority must be given to aid workers and bookings cannot be guaranteed.
UNHAS flights are fully supported by donors and are offered free of charge.
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