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WFP carries out night-time airlift of aid in Chad

WFP carries out night-time airlift of aid in Chad

   The United Nations World Food Program moved 40 tons of food and logistics equipment overnight Feb. 13 to N’djamena, Chad, to help feed more than 100,000 Sudanese refugees that have recently crossed into the country.

   The airlift, which originated at the UN Humanitarian Response Depot in Brindisi, Italy, includes 13 tons of high-energy biscuits. The refugees settled at makeshift camps after escaping fighting between government forces and insurgents in Darfur, western Sudan.

   WFP has appealed for $18.5 million to cover the costs to support the most needy Sudanese refugees and Chadians. The funds would also help to prepare for any new waves of Sudanese refugees, the WFP said.

   To date, WFP’s emergency operation, started in January, has received four firm pledges — from Japan, Norway, Switzerland and the United States — totaling $4.4 million, or less than 25 percent of the funds required.

   WFP estimates that it will need 21,000 tons of food to sustain the Sudanese refugees in the border area in 2004.

   In addition, WFP is setting up a special passenger and cargo air-transport service for all aid agencies working in Chad. The refugee sites are located more than 1,000 kilometers from the capital and road infrastructure in Chad is poor. The UN Humanitarian Air Service is expected to run for 11 months. WFP is requesting another $1.8 million from donors for the air-transport service. Norway has pledged $300,000 for this.

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