Haiti: UN agency ramping up food aid ahead of upcoming rains, hurricane season
20 April 2010 – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is ramping up its assistance in Haiti, pre-positioning rations and distributing meals to those displaced by January’s earthquake ahead of the approaching rains and the upcoming hurricane season.
More than 200,000 people were killed by the 12 January quake, which also left 1.3 million more homeless in the largely destroyed capital, Port-au-Prince, and nearby towns.
As of last week, humanitarian agencies estimate that 3.5 million survivors of the earthquake have received food assistance, 1.3 million are receiving daily water distributions and some 510,000 have benefited from hygiene kits. More than 500,000 adults and children have been vaccinated against common diseases.
Updating reporters in Geneva on WFP’s efforts, Emilia Casella said the agency is pre-positioning 2 million humanitarian daily rations and 1,000 tons of high-energy biscuits in 31 locations around the country.
It is also distributing 20,000 tons of food into 14 field and sub-offices around Haiti – enough to feed 1.3 million people for up to six weeks.
In addition, WFP is supporting the re-location of internally displaced persons (IDPs) from some of the camps in vulnerable areas in and around Port-au-Prince with seven days of ready-to-eat meals and 15 days of general food rations to assist them while they relocate to areas away from water flows.
Ms. Casella said the agency is also boosting its work-for-food programme, aiming to reach 70,000 workers in the coming months.
School meals, which are currently reaching 550,000 children, will be increased to 800,000 children over the coming week, she added.
Last week Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro said following a visit to Haiti that “commendable progress” has been made since the quake. However, the situation remains dire and there is a need to maintain the current attention on the country, she added, citing huge challenges such as providing shelter in the rainy season.
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