Liberia + 3 more

West Africa: WFP hails EC donation to crucial humanitarian air operation

Dakar - The United Nations World Food Programme today welcomed a €500,000 contribution from the European Commission Humanitarian Aid department, ECHO, for the agency's vital air service in support of its operations in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Cote d'Ivoire.

Regular commercial air connections within and between the four countries are either non-existent or extremely unreliable and the WFP passenger service is crucial for the transportation of humanitarian personnel and emergency supplies.

"We are extremely grateful to ECHO for continuing to recognise the importance of this operation to the humanitarian effort as these countries seek to recover fully from the devastating impact of war," said WFP West Africa Regional Director, Mustapha Darboe.

ECHO has now contributed almost €2.6 million (US$2 million) over the past two years, making it the largest single donor to the air operation outside the UN's Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). More than 130 UN agencies, NGOs and donor governments have benefited from the service since January 2005.

As well as regular passenger flights, the air service is vital for medical and security evacuations (the service was particularly critical during the political crisis in Guinea earlier this year) and for the transport of high-energy foods and perishable goods such as medical supplies.

WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency: on average, each year, we give food to 90 million poor people to meet their nutritional needs, including 58 million hungry children, in 80 of the world's poorest countries. WFP - We Feed People.

WFP now provides RSS feeds to help journalists keep up with the latest press releases, videos and photos as they are published on For more details see:

WFP now has a dedicated ISDN line in Italy for quality two-way interviews with WFP officials.

For more information please contact (email address:

Marcus Prior, WFP/Dakar, Tel. + 221 569 0267 (cell)
Brenda Barton, Deputy Director Communications, WFP/Rome, Tel. +39-06-65132602,
Cell. +39-3472582217 (ISDN line available)
Gregory Barrow, WFP/London, Tel. +44-20-72409001, Cell. +44-7968-008474
Christiane Berthiaume, WFP/Geneva, Tel. +41-22-9178564, Cell. +41-792857304
Cécile Sportis, WFP/Paris, Tel. +33-1-70385330, Cell. +33-6161-68266
Jennifer Parmelee, WFP/Washington, Tel. +1-202-6530010 ext. 1149, Mob. +1-202-4223383
Bettina Luescher, WFP/New York, Tel. +1-212-9635196, Cell. +1-646-8241112,