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Published:March 28th, 2008 09:44 EST
Lack of money may ground World Food Programme

Lack of money may ground World Food Programme

By SOP newswire

New York, NY-- Thanks to the infusion of much-needed funds, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced today that its critical air transports for aid workers in war-ravaged Darfur will be operational for an additional month.

Some 8,000 relief workers in Darfur use the Humanitarian Air Service (WFP-HAS) monthly to provide much-needed food, water and health care services, but WFP announced last month that it would be grounded by 31 May due to a lack of funds.

With contributions totalling over $6 million, WFP-HAS will not be able to keep 24 helicopters and airplanes in the air until the end of April.

"Thanks to the European Commission, Ireland and other donors, humanitarian work in Darfur and other parts of Sudan will not be interrupted – for the time being," said Kenro Oshidari, WFP Representative in Sudan.

He voiced hope that more donors will step up, noting that $77 million is needed to keep WFP-HAS, which is vital amid deteriorating security conditions on the roads, running this year.

The service also received $500,000 each from the UN Common Humanitarian Fund and Not On Our Watch, the humanitarian organization founded by actors George Clooney, Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, producer Jerry Weintraub and civil rights lawyer David Pressman.

Insecurity and banditry plague the roads, with WFP announced this week that three drivers of agency-contracted trucks had recently been murdered in Sudan, making the air operation more important than ever.