Haiti: WFP Readies Op To Feed 2 Million Quake Victims

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WFP is preparing a six-month emergency operation to assist as many as 2 million people affected by Tuesday's devastating earthquake in Haiti. Meanwhile, WFP food distributions began on Wednesday for 3,000 people in the town of Jacmel, southwest of Port-au-Prince.

ROME -- A WFP food distribution reached 3,000 people in the southern town of Jacmel on Wednesday and, despite logistical difficulties, more distributions were planned for Thursday in three areas of Port-au-Prince with high a population concentration.

A full emergency operation is being prepared to supply food assistance to around 2 million beneficiaries for six months initially.

"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 will focus on the distribution of ready to eat food and high energy biscuits in the initial phase of this emergency operation.

Pre-positioned food

WFP is well positioned to respond to the emergency as it already has stocks of food pre-positioned in the country. In the initial phase of the operation, WFP will distribute nutritious high energy biscuits, which require no cooking and are easy to transport. Haiti: 10 Hunger facts

In addition, we are airlifting 86 metric tons of food from our emergency hub in El Salvador. This will allow us to feed 30,000 people in urgent need for food for up to seven days. WFP emergency staff will also be deployed to the affected areas.

On Wednesday, the UN Humanitarian Relief Depot in Panama sent to Port-au-Prince ready-to-eat meals, first aid kits and satellite phones for Rapid Response Teams to support WFP and UN staff.

Assist Haiti

The quake, measuring 7 on the Richter scale, struck about 15km (10 miles) south-west of the capital Port-au-Prince, at 16.53 local time on Tuesday and was followed by several aftershocks. Although no official figures are yet available, thousands of people are feared dead and many more injured.

The quake, Haiti's worst in two centuries, has destroyed or wrecked thousands of buildings in and around the capital, leaving a large number of people homeless. At present many parts of the capital are without power or telecommunications links.

WFP is asking the international community for urgent help to assist Haiti, a country where 1.8 million people were already food insecure before the earthquake and it is also the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. It was devastated by a series of hurricanes in 2008 that lefts hundreds of people dead and millions of dollars in damages.