WFP has launched a completely revamped specialist website – the Humanitarian Early Warning Service – providing up-to-the-minute information on natural hazards around the world. As world attention focused on earthquake-stricken Japan in recent days, thousands of users downloaded maps and consulted quake reports.
During times of vulnerability, keeping kids in school is an important part of society’s response, says Donald Bundy from the Human Development Network of the World Bank. Bundy, who spoke to WFP while attending a seminar in Rome earlier this month, said the financial and food price crisis of 2008 highlighted the value of school meals programmes.
An effective emergency telecoms system is ensuring the humanitarian community in Niger is able to deliver relief and support to people affected by last year's drought. The system, set up by WFP’s emergency IT unit, FITTEST, was built around three radio channels that enable staff to remain in contact wherever they are.
Not all pilots would relish the idea of landing a plane on Faizabad’s perforated metal runway high in the mountains of northern Afghanistan, and even the bravest might think twice about taking off in high winds ahead of an approaching sandstorm in Kandahar.
A new calendar has been developed by WFP to help better prepare for food-related emergencies. It works by combining the most authoritative data on seasonal hazards like floods, droughts, pests and cyclones with information about crop cycles and weather patterns.
Communications are an essential part of any humanitarian aid operation, but keeping the lines open can be a tough job, says telecoms specialist Mark Phillips. He and his team have recently finished setting up radio repeaters around drought-plagued Madagascar, a challenging task even under the best of conditions.
A new poster map designed by WFP and UK Met Office Hadley Centre weaves together the latest information on climate change and food insecurity to show how the two are related. The map is one of the innovations that WFP is bringing to the UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun.
WFP’s Yemen office was an ideal candidate to pilot the organization’s new emergency planning package. Facing conflict, insecurity, refugees, drought, serious food insecurity , the Yemen operation is a microcosm of all the challenges WFP faces.
WFP is watching international food prices closely, as continued rises could increase pressure on the hungry poor and at the same time raise the cost of providing food assistance. A new report warns that food prices could climb higher in 2011, especially if harvests are poor.
Ethiopia’s National Meteorological Agency (NMA) has just finishing installing 20 automated weather stations that will send real-time data from pastoral areas to Addis Ababa every 15 minutes.