Desert, swamp or jungle, to get food to the hungry, WFP's logistics team has to negotiate some of the toughest terrain on the planet.
On average, WFP reaches more than 80 million people with food assistance in 75 countries each year.
When the areas needing food are not accessible by road, rail or river, other methods are brought into play. An emergency may require a cargo drop from aircraft or a helicopter airlift, but there are other options too. Locally engaged porters, as well as teams of elephants, yak, donkeys and camels are also used when necessary.
Always on the move
On any given day WFP operates an average of:
- 70 aircraft
- 20 ships
- 5,000 trucks
About half the food distributed by WFP is sourced directly within the country or region where it is needed. The other half, sourced internationally, is shipped by sea and unloaded in more than 70 ports around the world.
Thanks to a range of strategies, WFP is always able to provide a rapid response to hunger emergencies. A key element in this response is the WFP-managed network of UN Humanitarian Response Depots. These are hubs, positioned near disaster-prone areas around the world, where emergency supplies are stored in readiness.
Serving the humanitarian community
WFP's expertise in logistics meant that in 2005 the agency was mandated to lead logistics operations whenever a humanitarian emergency requires a joint response from UN agencies and the humanitarian community. The group of agencies or organisations which work together is called the Logistics Cluster.
WFP also provides passenger air transport to the entire humanitarian community through the UN Humanitarian Air Service (see video on right), which goes to more than 250 locations worldwide.