Mr. Graham Page, chief logistics officer of the United Nations Food and Agricultural organisation (FAO),?
GV Grain being loaded at Lagos airport, ZOOM to Canadian aircraft and people loading supplies
CU UN insignia
CU INTERIOR Mr. Page chief FAO officer.... (SCENES OVERLAID: CATTLE & SKELETONS IN DESERT, AIRCRAFT BEING LOADED WITH SACKS OF FOOD)
"Now the problem up in Niger at the moment is that the rains are due to start at any time. If they do, the whole area will be impassable by surface transportation. At the best of times, they have only got desert tracks, linking areas like Agades -- which itself is very isolated -- with the smaller areas. There is a critical shortage of food and fodder for livestock and people -- vast numbers of people -- are moving to anywhere -- anywhere at all they can find water and food.
"One of our first operations was to get seed moving, and we have moved seed to all the countries of the Sahelian zone with exception of Senegal. Today, a Hercules C-130, charted by FAO, will commence airlifting 300 tons of seed from Khartoum in the Sudan to Dakar in Senegal.
"Niger two weeks ago was our priority area in which the critical areas were Agades, Arlit, Dirkou and Bilma. But, as I have told you, we have already moved up in this week more than 500 tons of cargo there. We'll have the rest up in two weeks, and we have now identified another critical area in Chad. We have arranged to purchase 500 tons of sorghum in the Sudan and an airlift to the remote areas of Chad will commence in the next few days."
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Background: Mr. Graham Page, chief logistics officer of the United Nations Food and Agricultural organisation (FAO), gave a progress report on the FAO's relief operation to the drought-stricken areas of West Africa, at Lagos airport in Nigeria on Friday (July 6).
Ikeja airport near Lagos has been the base for the airlift to famine-threatened areas of the neighbouring Niger Republic. Mr. Page said that Nigeria is providing a vital link in bringing supplies from Europe and the United States to areas of desperate shortage in West Africa.
He said that the relief operation to Niger was going well, and they would soon start airlifting supplies to Chad. He said that seed for the next year's food had been flown to all the affected countries in West Africa.