Sudan: Humanitarian flight to Darfur

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has decided to send a special flight, which left today, containing humanitarian aid destined for the peoples of the region of Darfur. The crisis in Darfur, which began in February 2003 when two movements rebelled against the Sudan government, has become one of the most serious humanitarian crises in the world, causing thousands of deaths and over a million internally displaced people and refugees.

A wide-ranging humanitarian initiative has been underway in the region for some time, and several Italian NGOs, in collaboration with the Ministry's Special Envoy in Darfur, Barbara Contini, are working on the ground.

The plane left from Brindisi and will arrive in Nyala in Sudan later today. The Italian Ambassador, Angeloni, was awaiting it and handed the shipment over to the Ministry staff on the ground in the presence of Mrs. Contini.

The flight was carrying 30 tonnes of emergency supplies (worth over US$52,000) provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Directorate General for Development Cooperation, the Milan-based Red Cross, and several private companies. Among its contents are emergency food provisions, material for communication, medicines, clothes and toys for children, and electricity generators.

The humanitarian flight is part of a wider programme of emergency interventions arranged by the Ministry to support Sudan's peoples in need.