Casamance, a vast, semiarid region covering 11,600 mi2 (30,044 km2) in southeast Senegal, is landlocked between Gambia and Guinea-Bissau, more than 370 mi (595 km) from Dakar. It has little medical infrastructure. To help with the evacuation of the sick, the ambulance planes of the NGO (nongovernmental organization) Aviation Sans Frontières (Aviation Without Borders) continuously patrol the area and transport emergency cases to the local hospital in Tambacounda or, for more serious cases, to Dakar. Aviation Sans Frontières, specializing in emergency assistance for isolated populations, is one of the host of international NGOs at work in Africa providing such help. The continent shows the stark signs of underdevelopment: 40 percent of the 650 million Africans live below the threshold of absolute poverty ($1 per day), and life expectancy at birth is 50 years as opposed to 75 in industrialized nations. Civil wars, political instability, AIDS, and famine render the situation even more precarious. More than 63,000 NGOs and intergovernmental organizations throughout the world contribute to helping the destitute, but developmental aid is constantly decreasing.
NB: The NGO Aviation Sans Frontières left the Casamance in 2006 and since the sanitary evacuations by air are provided by another NGO which is called Secours Aérien Sans Frontières
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