Haiti: WFP operational update - 22 Oct 2008

Port-au-Prince, 22 October 2008 - WFP has now provided food to more than half a million victims following the series of deadly cyclones and tropical storms that battered the island of Haiti last month.

Across Haiti, around 940,000 rations, equivalent to more than 5,000 metric tonnes of food, have been distributed to 520,000 people.

In Gonaives alone, where thousands of people are still living on the roofs of their destroyed homes or in makeshift shelters, WFP has distributed rations of rice, beans, cooking oil and corn soya blend to approximately 266,000 people.

A door-to-door census across the city is being carried out by WFP, the Department of Civil Protection and NGOs to find out how many families are living in each house. New ration cards will be allocated this week for a neighborhood distribution scheme rather than distributing from four points outside the city center, making it much simpler for people to carry the food home.

Two-week family rations

Distributions have also taken place in the outlying areas of Gonaives and the flood-hit Artibonite valley with more than 50,000 two-week family rations distributed. WFP has also transported food by air to areas still cut off by flood water.

In the northern provinces, 40,000 fortnightly family rations have now been distributed. This is in addition to 18,000 rations in the West and almost 150,000 in the southern peninsula.

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 in high altitude areas such as Seguin, WFP has been lowering food in slings from helicopters. The food is then distributed to the most vulnerable and needy by partner NGOs on the ground.

Food to schools

WFP has also started distributing food to schools in Haiti as part of its normal programme following the start of the school year last week. WFP has targeted 500,000 Haitian school children (400,000 in its normal school feeding programme and 100,000 in its hurricane emergency response programme). In Gonaives, WFP is also providing food to volunteers, cleaning out 100 schools so that children can resume their lessons as soon as possible. Fifty have already been completed.

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.

WFP is targeting 800,000 hurricane victims with food assistance for a period of six months. WFP requires US$33 million for the food component of the United Nations US$107 million appeal to help the hurricane victims of Haiti. However, despite the generosity of many donors, WFP has still only received a little over a third of its funding requirements for food.

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