A massive earthquake struck Haiti on 12 January, followed by several aftershocks. The epicenter was located about 16 km (10 miles) south-west of the capital Port-au-Prince, which has been decimated by the quake, along Carrefour, Leogane, Delmas and Jacmel. Damage to buildings and infrastructure, including schools, hospitals and houses is considerable. Port-au- Prince is without critical infrastructure such as electricity, water and telecommunications. Although no official figures are yet available, tens of thousands of people are feared dead and many more injured.
The Government of Haiti has appealed for international assistance. Immediate priorities include search and rescue, medical services and supplies, clean water and sanitation, food, emergency shelter, logistics and telecommunications. The International Federation of the Red Cross estimates that the earthquake has affected over 3 million people. Of these, WFP estimates that at least 2 million people will require food assistance.
The United Nations Mission for the Stabilization in Haiti has set up an Emergency Joint Operations Centre at the Port-au-Prince airport to coordinate incoming teams and humanitarian aid. The Humanitarian Coordinator has dispatched a United Nations Disaster and Assessment Coordination team in which WFP is taking part. As part of its global cluster lead responsibilities, WFP is also deploying staff and equipment to support the international humanitarian community in logistics and emergency telecommunications.
Through this emergency operation, WFP, together with international and local partner agencies, will support 2 million vulnerable and food-insecure people in Port-au-Prince, Carrefour, Leogane, Delmas and Jacmel for 6 months, from 15 January to 15 July 2010. The overall objective of this operation is to save lives and protect livelihoods in emergencies in line with WFP Strategic Objective 1 "save lives and protect livelihoods in emergencies". More specifically, WFP will aim at improving food consumption for the emergency-affected households, protecting their livelihoods and enhancing their self-reliance and early recovery.
WFP will conduct emergency food security assessments in coordination with the Government and partners to refine its targeting and programme choices for this EMOP. This may result in a change in overall beneficiary numbers, taking also into account other agency efforts. WFP will also contribute to the formulation of a reconstruction plan for affected areas.