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King Rat
Private Life
Darfur: UN Humanitarian Air Service

Nicholas Kristof's stunt of asking for money to send Bill O'Reilly to Darfur made me think of where we should send money to help with Darfur. Though I do think paying Bill O'Reilly money to go to Darfur is actually money well spent, I doubt he'll actually go. But who is there and what are they doing? There's a bunch of coordinating groups as well as agencies. I'm going to highlight one here today. Send money to them if you can.

The first once I'll highlight is the U.N. Humanitarian Air Service. Picked mostly because it's the first agency mentioned in this entry over on the now-defunct Sleepless in Sudan blog.

People: The UNHAS transports people into, around, and out of Darfur. They give priority to relief workers in the region. After that comes UN agency staff. I believe this means people conducting fact-finding. Reporters who want to cover the region can also travel there. This service is provided free to the travelers and agencies involved. However, there are restrictions on what you can bring:

A muffled explosion in the luggage compartment sent an ear-popping noise through the cabin, blowing the back of the rear seat of the small twin engined aircraft forward. Pressurised to sea level, one or more of the 13 huge watermelons in the rear locker had succumbed to 'explosive decompression' and split open.

The UNHAS transports people both with aircraft as well as by helicopter for the more inaccessible areas.

The UNHAS also performs evacuations of relief workers, both security related as well as medical.

Cargo: The UNHAS transports medical supplies, communication equipment, sanitation equipment, shelter material, water purification equipment, generators, vehicles, spare parts, and construction materials. Among other things.

Emergencies: The UNHAS has an emergency response program which will be used to transport food, workers, etc. to a region when disaster happens. It may include air drops of food or other materials.

How to donate: You can't donate online and specify the UNHAS specifically. However, the UNHAS is part of the World Food Program, and it has a donation page you can select the Darfur Crisis from the drop-down. It doesn't appear that that is tax-deductible. If you are the itemizing type, or you want your employer to match a tax-deductible gift, you can donate to the Friends of the WFP here. You can't specifically direct it to Darfur that way, though you can note that Sudan is what you are most interested in. I should also highlight that they take Paypal donations.

You can send a check along with this form to:

US Friends of the WFP
1819 L Street NW
Suite 400
Washington, DC20036

Also, I don't know if this works with every cell phone provider, but you can send an SMS text message to donate as well:

text the word DONATE to 33133 - You will receive a confirmation message and your mobile will be charged US$1.99


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