ICRC suspends airlifts due to high landing fee
June 14, 2000 – The Reporter (by a staff reporter)
The ICRC said on Monday that it has suspended its twice-a-day airlift emergency food operation to Ethiopia as the national air carrier has asked it to pay a landing fee of 4,000 US dollars for each landing.
Speaking to The Reporter, the ICRC information officer, Mr. Erawan Deveze, said that Ethiopian Airlines informed the ICRC to pay the landing fee beginning on June 5, 2000. It, therefore, suspended its operation "as it is quite difficult to afford
to pay such an amount." He also said the delegation had not "foreseen and budgeted" for such an outcome.
The ICRC had been airlifting 160 metric tons of pre-cooked high protein food and oil from Nairobi to Gode and Nairobi to Dire Dawa since May 1, 2000. The food was distributed to drought victims in Gode and Dennan towns in the Ogaden region, southeastern Ethiopia. Each daily food distribution is expected to last several weeks.
Asked whether the suspension meant the end of ICRC's relief operation in Ethiopia, Deveze said that would not be the case. He indicated the ICRC has already arrived at the decision of shifting its means of operation from airlifts to shipments and using the Port of Berbera.
The first shipment arrived at Berbera Port last weekend and the first food has reached Jijiga yesterday by road, he explained. "Halting the airlifts will not affect our humanitarian operation," he concluded.
Copyright MCC, 2000