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United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) Annual Review 2021

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A lifeline in the sky


As we look back on the past year, the impacts of natural hazards, escalating conflicts and worsening economic conditions, along with the continued effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, have led to increased vulnerabilities and humanitarian needs. Air transport remains the only safe and reliable means of providing the humanitarian community with access to many locations around the world. For example, WFP launched in 2021 an additional UNHAS operation to support the Ebola outbreak response in southern Guinea and established a UNHAS airbridge following a deadly explosion in Equatorial Guinea. In August 2021, UNHAS began operating flights to the Great South of Madagascar, enabling aid workers to reach areas facing alarming levels of food insecurity. In addition, the year was marked by the unfolding of the crisis in Afghanistan, the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti, and the intensifying crisis in northern Ethiopia.

When disasters strike, the capacity of the humanitarian community to organize an immediate and efficient response often makes the difference between life and death for thousands of people. The availability of an efficient and effective humanitarian air service goes a long way in enabling the response. UNHAS continued to deliver humanitarian and health items to 24 countries facing crisis and emergency in 2021.

I would like to thank all who contributed to ensuring that in 2021, UNHAS remained funded and capable to provide the humanitarian, health and development workers, the access they require to provide timely and life-saving assistance to the most vulnerable people and communities.

This would not have been possible without the continued engagement, efforts, work and dedication from all our Partners: the Donor community, Governments, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Civil Aviation Authorities, Regional Civil Aviation Agencies, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), our contracted Air Carriers, our User Agencies and passengers, and, most of all, our committed and determined national and international humanitarian aviation workers.

Philippe Martou

Chief of the WFP Aviation Service