Swiss helicopters ending tsunami mission

Briefing Notes, 11 February 2005

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Ron Redmond to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 11 February 2005, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

Towards the end of the month the three Swiss Super Puma helicopters put at the disposal of UNHCR and other agencies to help with our tsunami relief efforts in Indonesia's Aceh province are expected to wind up their mission. The emergency phase of the tsunami operation where the helicopters have been so essential to fly in badly needed relief supplies to remote areas is almost at an end. Now, our relief operation is moving into the rehabilitation phase, when we are expecting to use road transport and boats to move heavier supplies for shelter along Aceh's west coast. We would like to express our tremendous appreciation to the Swiss government for their very generous gesture in putting the helicopters at our disposal. They provided a vital boost to UNHCR's emergency activities during a crucial period, helping thousands of needy and desperate disaster victims.