The Department for International Development provides humanitarian support to UN agencies in Sudan through the Common Humanitarian Fund (CHF). The fund allows the UN humanitarian co-ordinator to decide on priority funding needs. We have contributed £40 million to the CHF this year.
The humanitarian situation in Darfur remains precarious and incidents involving violence against humanitarian workers and assets continue. Access remains the primary concern of the humanitarian community. While some progress has been made, bureaucratic impediments and security limitations, particularly in West Darfur, continue to block the delivery of services in many areas.
Our initial assessment is that the flight changes announced by the World Food Programme's Humanitarian Air Service will not adversely affect the frontline work of the humanitarian operation in Darfur. The reductions in the helicopter service still represent an increase from 2007. Other flight changes affect connections between the capital Khartoum and the south. Although these will not have a significant impact on humanitarian operations, they will affect the frequency with which aid workers can travel to regional hubs.
The Department for International Development has engaged intensively with international partners about the funding problems being experienced by the World Food Programme's Humanitarian Air Service (HAS) in Sudan. We are encouraging the European Commission Humanitarian Office (ECHO) to provide longer-term funding for HAS.
In addition, DfID has urged the UN to consider the case for increased funding for the HAS. As a first step, an additional US$4 million has already been made available and a further grant of US$2 million is under active consideration. These additional funds come from the Common Humanitarian Fund for Sudan, to which DfID has contributed £40 million this year.