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Air Bridge to boost ICRC food aid operation in Darfur

6/3/2005 5:49 am

Press release No. 05/29
03 June 2005

Air Bridge to boost ICRC food aid operation in Darfur

Food supplies in the stricken Darfur province continue to run critically
low. To boost its efforts to bring much-needed food to residents in remote
and rural areas, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) will
now undertake an intensive two-month airlift operation out of Khartoum.

Scheduled to commence on June 4th and planned for two months, an
ICRC-chartered Iluyshin 76TD aircraft will carry out two rotations a day,
six days a week, splitting its payload between Nyala and Al Fashir. From
here, the food supplies, consisting mainly of sorghum, lentils and cooking
oils, will be trucked by road into rural Darfur where whole communities
continue to be in serious need of humanitarian assistance. Some 4'000
metric tonnes of food will be delivered via the air bridge, benefiting more
than 220'000 people. This operation supplements the year-long ICRC food
distribution already underway in Darfur.

Several factors prompted the decision to commence with this airlift
operation, chief among them being the dwindling food supplies and the
growing number of people dependent on food aid. This situation is
underscored by increasing insecurity on the roads from Khartoum to Darfur
where attacks on aid convoys are on the increase. Additionally, while the
approaching rainy season is most welcome, it poses serious logistical
challenges as road conditions deteriorate, hampering the delivery of food

The air-bridge will ensure that the ICRC's food aid operation continues
unabated and that the people of Darfur receive the assistance they so badly
need, regardless of the worsening weather and banditry. This operation,
estimated at approximately USD 2.2m, will be reviewed after two months and
extended for an additional month if considered necessary.

Contacts at the ICRC Sudan:
Sudanese Media ? English Speaking: Lorena Brander, Media Relations
Delegate, Mobile: 0912 137764
Arabic Speaking Media -: Adil Sherif, Assistant to Head of Delegation,
Mobile: 0912 161493
International Media: Paul Conneally, Communication Coordinator, Mobile:
+249 912 170576
Marco Yuri Jiménez Rodrيguez, ICRC Geneva, tel. ++41 22 730 2271
or visit our website:

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