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British Airways provides East Africa relief flight

August 31 - British Airways has flown a relief aircraft full of emergency supplies and equipment to victims of the food crisis in East Africa, where over half a million people are directly at risk of starvation.

Boeing 747 freighter with capacity for up to 110 tonnes of cargo, flew to Ethiopia, carrying aid from Oxfam andUNICEF.

Following severe droughts, resulting in the worst food crisis the world has seen for 20 years, the two charities are among those working in the region to bring much-needed relief to over 12 million people at risk from famine, disease and drought across Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia.

The aircraft carried 5,000 m of pipe from Oxfam, which will be used to supply much-needed water to the Dolo Ado refugee camp in Ethiopia, as well as vital emergency food and medical supplies from UNICEF.

British Airways began helping the relief effort by carrying over seven and a half tonnes of water tanks, tapstands, pipes and water pumps from Oxfam as free cargo on a scheduled flight to Nairobi.

The airline also gave Oxfam free flights to Kenya to get 40 relief experts into the worst affected areas as quickly as possible.

Keith Williams, British Airways' chief executive, said: "The worst drought in 50 years means the lives of millions of people hang in the balance. The generosity of our customers will make a real and tangible difference to those in desperate need.

"It is vital that we get aid from charities like Oxfam and UNICEF to the most seriously affected areas across East Africa. We want to do what we can to help those caught up in this terrible crisis."

Barbara Stocking, Oxfam's chief executive, said: "British Airways is showing incredible hands-on support for the relief effort, delivering vital supplies straight to where they are so desperately needed and flying our emergency staff into the region to work on the ground.

David Bull, UNICEF UK's executive director, said: "When children are facing famine, because crops have failed, because food is scarce, it's time to share a little of what we've got. British Airways has been extremely generous in sharing its cargo space.

"British Airways responded to UNICEF's appeal and donated their cargo space travelling to the Horn of Africa. We urge all airlines to follow this fantastic example and share whatever they can." 

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