Cuba

WFP to assist hurricane-affected communities in Cuba

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HAVANA - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is gearing up to assist 1.78 million Cubans affected by hurricanes Gustav and Ike, which pummeled the island in late August and early September. The newly approved emergency operation will support the Cuban government as it responds to communities needing food assistance in areas that bore the brunt of hurricane damage.

"WFP is playing an important role helping people who suffered great losses in the storms," said Sonsoles Ruedas, WFP Representative in Cuba, adding that these were two of the worst hurricanes to strike Cuba in the past fifty years.

Over the next six months, WFP will provide food rations - comprised of rice, beans, vegetable oil, canned fish and CSB (a blended food compound of maize and soy fortified with vitamins and minerals) - at a cost of US$5.7 million. As well as providing rations to communities that have been affected by the hurricanes, WFP will supply temporary food storage warehouses and liquid gas stoves to people who lost cooking facilities in the storms.

"As on previous occasions, we trust in the generosity of donors to carry out this operation which will allow us to provide assistance to affected populations," added Ruedas.

The new emergency operation will be carried out in close collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Investment and Economic Cooperation (MINVEC) which will coordinate the timely distribution of commodities at a national level along with the Ministry of Domestic Trade (MINCIN).

WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency and the UN's frontline agency for hunger solutions. This year, WFP plans to feed 90 million people in 80 countries.

WFP now provides RSS feeds to help journalists keep up with the latest press releases, videos and photos as they are published on WFP.org. For more details see: http://www.wfp.org/english/?n=999.

WFP now has a dedicated ISDN line in Italy for quality two-way interviews with WFP officials.

For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@wfp.org):

Gregory Barrow, WFP/Rome, Tel. +39-06-65132330, Cell. +39-3481325018, (ISDN line available)

Alejandro Chicheri, WFP/Latin America and the Caribbean, Tel +507-317-3900, Cell +507-6675-0617

Elio Rujano, WFP/Latin America and the Caribbean, Tel: +507 317-3930, Cell +507 6617-9261

Caroline Hurford, WFP/London, Tel. +44-20-72409001, Cell. +44-7968-008474

Jennifer Parmelee, WFP/Washington, Tel. +1-202-6530010 ext. 1149, Cell. +1-202-4223383

Bettina Luescher, WFP/New York, Tel. +1-212-9635196, Cell. +1-646-8241112, luescher@un.org