The UN said it would resume humanitarian flights to Niger on Wednesday (15/11), which were suspended after a coup in July in a country where more than four million people need aid.
“The UN Humanitarian Aviation Service (UNHAS) has resumed domestic flights on Wednesday,” the UN humanitarian agency, OCHA, told AFP in Niger’s capital Niamey.
OCHA’s office in Geneva said late Tuesday (14/11) that the resumption of domestic flight operations followed the lifting of restrictions on domestic flights, which were imposed after military leaders ousted President Mohamed Bazoum on July 26.
The reopening will allow monthly deliveries of nearly 2.4 tons of medical supplies to continue, as well as medical evacuations and humanitarian staff, the UN agency said.
They also said, however, that they had anticipated difficulties in providing aircraft fuel.
The UN flights will bring supplies to areas far and wide, such as Diffa in the southeast, where thousands of Nigerian refugees and Nigeriens have fled to escape violence from jihadist groups.
Niger has been subject to tough economic scrutiny from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) since the military overthrew their democratically elected leader.
Humanitarian sources said large amounts of cargo destined for Niger were still stuck at the port of Cotonou in neighboring Benin, an ECOWAS member whose border with Niger was closed after the coup.
In addition to sanctions, the coup was also condemned by several Western countries, many of which further cut off their development funding for Niger.
Despite the flight ban, the UN is managing its operations in Niger, after the coup, where some 4.3 million people depend on humanitarian aid. (ns/lt)