Bad weather, flight path led to airdrop failure: UN food agency chief

OTTAWA -- Bad weather and a tricky flight path are factors that led to a failed United Nations air drop of humanitarian aid in Syria -- the international organization’s first such attempt inside the war-torn country.

See Full Article

World Food Program chief Ertharin Cousin, whose agency co-ordinates logistics for the UN, took full responsibility for the botched air operation in an interview with CTV News on Thursday.

She said that delivering by air is fraught with challenges.

“One thing we’ve said about air drops from the very beginning is that air drops are a last resort when there is no other way of bringing food to other people.”

Twenty-one pallets, each containing 1 metric ton of aid, were destined for the eastern Syrian city of Deir el-Zour, besieged by Islamic State extremists. Ten of those pallets are unaccounted for, while the rest are badly damaged or did not fall in the target area. The materials could have helped roughly 200,000 trapped civilians the World Food Program has not accessed since 2014.

“What we are doing now is that we are looking at the film from the air drops of what went wrong,” Cousin said. “We have been given permission from Jordan to actually practice with the challenging meteorological situation that winter provides.”

Those test runs will determine whether the WFP can overcome the challenges to attempt another air drop, but Cousin is optimistic. “We we’ll try again… They need us to get this right and we will.”

Another challenge Cousin is facing when it comes to feeding the world’s hungry is climate change, which is why her agency is exploring forecast-based financing. “That means if meteorological data forecast a drought … we can go in with different seeds. So instead of planting maize, you plant cowpeas, which can grow with erratic rains.”

Cousin believes a greater emphasis on weather models can help target at-risk populations before climate-based disasters strike, thereby saving lives and money. It’s a method she says makes vulnerable populations “more resilient, making them less in need of assistance from the international community, giving them the ability to continue to feed their own families.

Cousin’s two-day visit to Ottawa included a meeting with International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau. And even though Canada has failed to meet the foreign aid target set out by the United Nations, Cousin praised Canada.

“Canadian people are one of the most generous donors we have at WFP. And in fact Canada has ranked 3rd, and never less than 4th, in donors to WFP,” she said.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • ISIS radio show sorts jihadist problems

    World News Toronto Sun
    Even terrorists have problems and death cult ISIS is here to help. The terrorist organization’s radio station has launched a new program to assist struggling killers with their personal problems. The show, called Fatwas Over the Airwaves, features a host, along with Muslim clerics answering listeners queries on lust and what is permissible under religious law. Source
  • Vancouver police traffic stop uncovers 56 kilos of cocaine

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- A traffic stop by Vancouver police has resulted in a large cocaine bust. Police say patrol officers stopped a SUV with two people inside on Tuesday after they saw some suspicious behaviour. Source
  • Trump taps retired Marine general John Kelly for DHS

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — President-elect Donald Trump has chosen retired Marine Gen. John Kelly, whose last command included oversight of the Guantanamo Bay detention centre, to run the Department of Homeland Security, people close to the transition team said Wednesday. Source
  • Reputed mobster and 'Sopranos' inspiration pleads guilty in plot to kill crime rival

    World News Toronto Sun
    NEWARK, N.J. — A Nevada man who authorities say is a member of the New Jersey crime family believed to be the model for HBO’s “The Sopranos” has admitted plotting the death of an organized crime rival. Source
  • 2 juveniles charged in Tennessee wildfire that killed 14, including 2 Canadians

    World News CTV News
    SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. -- Authorities have charged two juveniles for starting an East Tennessee wildfire that killed 14 people and destroyed or damaged more than 1,700 buildings. Canadians John Tegler, 71, and Marilyn Tegler, 70, were among those who died in the fire. Source
  • 2 NYC toddlers die after steam burns possibly caused by radiator

    World News Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK — Authorities say two toddlers have died after suffering steam burns in a New York City apartment, and investigators are looking into whether a radiator malfunctioned. The New York Police Department says the 1- and 2-year-old girls were taken at around noon Wednesday from the Bronx apartment to a hospital, where they were pronounced dead. Source
  • Canada's record on First Nations child welfare to face scrutiny in Washington

    Canada News CBC News
    Canada's treatment of First Nations children will be debated on the world stage Friday, with the federal government poised to appear before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Washington to defend the current state of the child welfare system. Source
  • Pakistani court indicts brother of model over honour killing

    World News CTV News
    MULTAN, Pakistan - A government prosecutor says a court in central Pakistan has indicted the brother of slain model Qandeel Baloch for killing her in the name of honour. Jam Salahuddin said Wednesday that two other people who helped Waseem Azeem, Baloch's brother, to strangle her in July have also been indicted. Source
  • Former porn queen Jenna Jameson has a 'massive crush' on Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu

    World News Toronto Sun
    Former porn queen Jenna Jameson got into a war of words with former KKK poohbah David Duke over her “massive crush” on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Jameson -- star of Deep Inside Jenna Jameson, Incredible Jenna Jameson and Jenna Jameson Untamed -- called the Israeli PM a “complete bada--. Source
  • City officials: Congress shortchanging NYC on Trump security

    World News CTV News
    New York City's mayor and other Democratic officials said Wednesday that Congress was proposing to pitch in far too little for protecting Trump Tower: $7 million, a fifth of what New York requested. "New York City taxpayers should not be on the hook for 80 per cent of the national bill" to protect President-elect Donald Trump and his family, Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement calling for Congress to "step up" in coming months. Source