Funds shortage may end UN chopper aid to quake-hit Nepal

United Nations

United Nations

The UN warned Monday it would stop its emergency helicopter service in quake-devastated Nepal unless it receives more funds, a move which could leave thousands without access to food or shelter.

Established after the April 25 earthquake, the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) offers free flights to non-profit organisations delivering relief materials to otherwise inaccessible villages in the Himalayan nation.

In a statement the UN said UNHAS had received less than half of the $18 million needed to continue operations until October 2015 and help homeless villagers prepare for the onset of winter, after the quake flattened more than 600,000 houses in the country.

“If the gap is not met soon, deliveries will cease at the end of August,” it said.

Jamie McGoldrick, UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nepal, said the airlift support was crucial for the relief operation.

“Without it, humanitarian partners will not be able to continue providing vital assistance to communities in far-flung areas, most of which were severely affected by the earthquakes,” he added.

The quake killed more than 8,900 people and experts fear the delivery of aid to remote mountainous villages will suffer a serious blow as monsoon rains move across the country, triggering landslides and wreaking further damage to supply routes.

UNHAS helicopters have so far delivered aid to 139 communities that are currently inaccessible by road, moving 1,457 tonnes of humanitarian supplies and 2,600 aid workers across Nepal.

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