Haiti: WFP operational update - 16 Oct 2008

News and Press Release
Originally published
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Port-au-Prince, 16 October 2008 - WFP is now providing regular food assistance to almost half a million victims of a series of deadly cyclones and tropical storms that battered the island of Haiti last month. Across Haiti, a total of 842,000 rations have been distributed to 485,000 people.

In Gonaives, where thousands of people are still living on the roofs of their destroyed homes or in makeshift shelters, WFP has distributed some 640,000 two-week family rations of rice, beans, cooking oil and corn soya blend for around 266,000 people. WFP is now distributing to the outlying districts of Gros Morne, Anse Rouge and Ennery and will continue with distributions in these areas over the coming days.

In order to make sure everyone in need in Gonaives is receiving food, WFP monitors have been carrying out door to door census across the city to find out how many families are living in each house.

People still living in shelters

WFP laments the fact that 40,000 people are still living in shelters with no structural organization support. At the moment the agency has to rely on feeding the residents through distributions that take place outside the centres.

WFP has started distributing food to schools elsewhere in Haiti as part of its normal programme following the start of the school year last week. WFP is currently feeding around 400,000 Haitian school children, providing a hot meal every day. In Gonaives, WFP is also providing food to volunteers cleaning out around 50 schools so that children can resume their lessons as soon as possible in the city. Fourteen schools have already been completed.

In the south of Haiti, WFP has been delivering food along the coast with a special landing craft able to stop and deliver food to isolated coastal communities. In order to provide food assistance to the flood hit villages along the Artibonite valley and elsewhere, WFP has been lowering food in slings from helicopters. It is then distributed to the most vulnerable and needy by partner NGOs on the ground.

Humanitarian passenger service

Three helicopters have been leased by WFP to transport food and humanitarian equipment from other agencies as well as humanitarian workers in the country.

More than 30 non-governmental organizations and UN and government agencies have used WFP's humanitarian passenger service to enable them to assess their own relief work.

More than 700 people died in Gonaives in the flooding caused by Fay, Gustav, Hanna and Ike which left the city covered with 2.8 million cubic metres of mud.

WFP hopes to eventually reach a target of food assistance for a total 800,000 hurricane victims for a period six months. The agency estimated it would require US$34 million for the food component of the United Nations $US107 million appeal to help the hurricane victims of Haiti.

Funding requirements

However, despite the generosity of many donors, WFP has still only raised 30.4% of its funding requirements for food. Nations that have already given money to WFP's food assistance programme for hurricane victims in Haiti include: United States (US$6.6 million); Japan (US$1 million); Switzerland (US$329,000); Ireland (US$220,000); Andorra(US$10,000); Italy (US$1.6 million); Luxembourg (US$279,000).

Contact us

Greg Barrow
Tel. +39-06-65132330,
Cell. +39-348 1325018 (ISDN line available)

Hilary Clarke
Cell. +509 3 7012353

Elio Rujano
WFP/Latin America and the Caribbean
Tel: +507 317 39 00/ 39 30, Cell. +507 6617-9261