The World Food Programme has airlifted a first tranche of emergency food assistance from its new humanitarian emergency hub in Ecuador to assist thousands of families affected by floods in Bolivia as a result of “La Niña” weather phenomenon.
“Ninety percent of the population affected by floods in 2007 has been hit again this year. This is a serious setback on their recovery process,” said Vitória Ginja, WFP Representative in Bolivia.
The airlift of 10 metric tons of ready-to-eat High Energy Biscuits to Trinidad in Bolivia, a city affected by the floods, was carried out by a military aircraft made available by the Government of Ecuador.
The biscuits will meet the immediate nutritional needs of the affected population, especially children, pregnant and lactating women and the elderly. Each ration contains a 100-gram package with the equivalent of 450 kilocalories.
The Ecuador hub stands ready to supply a larger food cargo to Bolivia by road in case it is requested.
After the earthquake in Peru, the hub dispatched a truck convoy of 100 tons of food to the affected region. The convoy finally reached its destination after travelling 1,600 km in a four-day journey through the Andean mountains.
“The food airlift from our Humanitarian Assistance Logistics Centre for the Andean region and the support of Ecuadorian Government has allowed us to respond quickly to this urgent request after the Government of Bolivia declared a state of disaster,” said Helmut Rauch, WFP Representative in Ecuador.
The emergency hub is part of the Latin America and Caribbean Emergency Response Network (LACERN), an integrated emergency preparedness and response framework in the region.
LACERN is comprised of one main hub in Panama plus three sub-regional hubs located in Barbados, El Salvador and Ecuador that allow WFP to provide assistance within 72 hours of its request.
Since November 2007, WFP has been assisting around 115,000 people in Bolivia following persistent rainfalls which have intensified over the last few months. The resulting floods have killed 52 people and have affected around 300,000 people.