Rome – The World Food Programme (WFP) welcomed today Canada’s decision to help transport helicopters urgently needed in Myanmar for the relief operation underway to assist thousands of
cyclone victims.

The initiative followed a meeting between Maxime Bernier, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, and WFP’s Executive Director, Josette Sheeran, at the agency’s Rome headquarters on Wednesday.

«Time is of the essence to reach those in need in Myanmar. We are most grateful to Minister Bernier for his rapid life-saving action on behalf of the Canadian people,» said Josette
Sheeran.

‘Remote areas’
«The majority of cyclone victims are in remote areas, deep into the Ayeyarwady Delta, which is very difficult to reach by land.»

WFP is mobilising a fleet of 10 helicopters to help deliver food and other relief supplies to victims of Cyclone Nargis. Canada will use a commercially chartered aircraft to deliver up to five
helicopters, stationed in the Ukraine, to Bangkok from where they will move to Myanmar to start operating.

US$50 million appeal
WFP is the lead agency for logistics coordination and the supply of operational logistics capacity for the UN and non-governmental organisations working in Myanmar. WFP has appealed for US$50
million for a special operation to ensure a supply chain of life-saving relief items as well as emergency telecommunications capacity.

Canada is WFP’s third largest donor, having contributed US$109 million to a variety of critical operations this year.