Pakistan

Pakistan: UN helicopters exit the quake zone as winter recedes

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News and Press Release
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Islamabad February 12th, 2007 - The United Nations Humanitarian Air Services (UNHAS) successfully completed its mission in the earth quake affected areas of AJK and NWFP. Rod Penhall, Head of Air Operations UNHAS said, "UNHAS mandate under Earthquake Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Authority (ERRA) was fulfilled without any safety incidents and a good level of cooperation and coordination resulted in the professional execution of the mission."

UNHAS airlifted 152387 KGs of cargo that included CGI sheets, tent poles, winter clothing, heaters, water & sanitation pipes, shelter repair kits, buckets, jerry cans, hurricane lamps, wires, stoves, quits, tents, tarpaulins, blankets and other miscellaneous items.

United Nations Resident Coordinator, Jan Vandemoortele appreciating the efforts of the agency said, "There were many a happy endings to life-saving medical evacuations conducted by UNHAS of the rural population residing in far-flung inaccessible areas at high altitudes."

The five helicopters that included four MIL8 MTV's and a KAMOV 32 started flying in the middle of November last year and were based in Muzaffarabad. The primary objective of the operation was to airlift construction and essential relief material together with providing a MEDIVAC service to ensure an airlift evacuation to rural communities residing in high elevations i.e. of approximately 5000 feet and above to offset the possible contingencies that could arise from the onset of inclement weather in the winter months.

The last cargo flight in support of the ERRA reconstruction and rehabilitation plan took place last week that led to the final termination of core business activity. The air operation was largely funded from the generous contributions of the primary donor, the European Commission. UNHAS is a common service provided by World Food Programme (WFP) to serve and coordinate safe and reliable air transport services during humanitarian emergencies for the affected population and the humanitarian community.

For further information and media assistance, please contact:

Raabya Amjad, Public Information Officer, Pakistan
UN - Resident Coordinator's Office, Sector F-7/2, Street 17, House 12, Islamabad; Fax: +92(0) 51 2655014; Tel: + 92(0) 51 8255712; Mobile: +92 (0)301 8542442, Email: raabya.amjad@un.org.pk