ROME -- WFP is gearing up to distribute ready-to-eat food rations to 2 million people in quake-stricken Haiti because, with so many homes and buildings destroyed, most people have no access to cooking facilities. Photo gallery
In order to help it achieve that goal, the UN food agency is appealing to its donor governments to offer excess stocks of ready-to-eat meals for use in the Haiti emergency. WFP will also try to establish food kitchens in Port-au-Prince to provide prepared foods to the hungry.
"We are mobilising all available resources to provide urgently needed food assistance as part of a swift and coordinated recovery effort," said WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran
WFP has launched an emergency operation for Haiti and despite major logistical obstacles started distributing food within 24 hours of the earthquake striking. In the initial phase of the operation, WFP will distribute nutritious high energy biscuits and other ready-to-eat foods.
Some 3,000 people received food rations in the southern town of Jacmel on Wednesday and more distributions took place on Thursday in three areas of Port-au-Prince with high a population concentration.
WFP is well positioned to respond to the emergency as it already has stocks of food pre-positioned in the country. But the logistical obstacles are still considerable.
The airport is heavily congested; aviation fuel is in short supply and planes attempting to land have been held in holding patterns for up to two hours. The airport in neighbouring Dominican Republic is also becoming congested. WFP is actively exploring alternative routes to bring food assistance into Haiti, by road and sea.
WFP has established a logistics hub in neighbouring Dominican Republic and has begun acquiring logistical assets that will help deliver assistance without unduly impacting on the country's crippled logistics infrastructure.
Two convoys from Dominican Republic managed to get across border into Haiti on Thursday and arrived at Port-au Prince by early evening - estimated travel time is 12-18 hours.