Four hurricanes swept through Haiti last year between late August and early September severely impacting the lives of 800,000 people. The community in and around the town of Gonaives was hardest hit.
In response to the disaster, WFP Haiti launched a Special Operation (SO) 10780 for “Logistics Augmentation and Coordination in support of the Humanitarian Community. Under the program WFP received financing for an interagency fleet of Norwegian Red Cross M6 Trucks. The fleet was part of the initial emergency response and continues to provide logistics support to the humanitarian community through the Logistics Cluster coordination mechanism. The Interagency Fleet is available free-of-charge to transport relief items only where local transport is insufficient and to locations only reachable by these 6x6 specialized trucks.
During the first six months of the operations, 5,000 MT of food and non-food items were transported on behalf of WFP and the 18 organizations and NGOs participating in the Logistics Cluster.
A special feature of the fleet is that it is not directly managed by WFP but by one of our partner organizations, Handicap International (HI)/Atlas Logistics (AL). An agreement with HI/AL was signed in November 2008 and negotiations are currently ongoing for a renewal beyond the end of July 2009. To define the way forward, Jean-Francois Milhaud, WFP’s Global Fleet Manager, conducted a mission in June to establish the fleet's actual running costs and the possibility of switching to a cost-recovery program to guarantee the fleet’s self- sustainability following the closure of the current SO.
All 49 trucks in the fleet are an essential part of future responses during the fast approaching 2009 cyclone season. A new pre-positioning strategy of 5 trucks in 4 new bases will cover all of Haiti’s territory in case of a compromised road network. This will be done in conjunction with coastal shipping that will assist with maintaining the trucks by moving replacement parts along the coastline to the remotely located trucks.