Dispatch of 6 Humanitarian Flights to the Horn of Africa

from Government of Italy
Published on 19 May 2000
As part of the activities Italy carries out in support of all the populations in the Horn of Africa, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lamberto Dini, in cooperation with United Nations' agencies, has arranged for the immediate dispatch of 6 humanitarian flights to assist a new wave of refugees fleeing the area affected by the recent fighting between Eritrea and Ethiopia.

The first humanitarian flight is scheduled to arrive in Asmara next Monday with a load of high-protein biscuits. It will be followed by a flight transporting sanitation kits, tents, containers for drinking water, blankets and other prime necessities. Other flights will deliver milk and sugar.

To deal with the new dramatic situation the Italian Cooperation Department has allocated 10 billion lira in emergency aid.

Italian technicians are worried about the accessibility of the Asmara airport. Its possible closure would create a highly complex logistical situation and significantly hamper humanitarian efforts.

The Italian Embassy in Asmara is already purchasing medicines, foods and other prime necessities locally for a total of over one billion lira to set up the first support facilities for all displaced persons.

A group of doctors and surgeons from the Italian Cooperation Department will leave within the next few days to supply additional support to the Italian surgical team already operating in Eritrea.