CASH-STARVED WFP MAY BE FORCED TO GROUND LIFE-SAVING HELICOPTERS

3 Apr

World's largest helicopter - 16 ton lift

31 October 2005

ISLAMABAD – Less than four weeks after Pakistan’s worst-ever earthquake, the United Nations World Food Program may be forced to ground its relief helicopters because it lacks the funds to fly them. The helicopters are the only means to reach hundreds of thousands of survivors cut off by landslides in the rugged mountains of northeast Pakistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

103105-wfp-may-be-forced-to-ground-helicopters-in-pak

The cost of an MI-26, the largest helicopter in the world with a capacity to ferry 16 tons of supplies per flight at these high altitudes is approximately US$11,000 per hour excluding fuel and support costs. WFP needs to operate five of these giant Russian-made planes in addition to 22 of the smaller MI-8 which each carry three tons of supplies. However, due to limited funding, WFP has only deployed eight MI-8 helicopters and one MI-26 and has confirmed only an additional four MI-8’s and one MI-26.

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