EU donation for Pakistan earthquake victims

Published on 17 January 2006

WFP welcomes the 6.7 million euros contribution from the European Commission (EC) to its air and logistics operations assisting earthquake victims in Pakistan.

WFP has welcomed the European Commission's 6.7 million euros contribution to its air and logistics operations assisting earthquake victims in Pakistan.

Harsh winter

By supporting WFP’s air and logistics operation, the EC will help to maintain the ongoing delivery of such critical items as food, tents, winter clothing, blankets and tools

James Morris, WFP Executive Director

The EC contribution comes at a crucial time for the survivors of the earthquake, who are now facing harsh winter conditions.

“By supporting WFP’s air and logistics operation, the EC will help to maintain the ongoing delivery of such critical items as food, tents, winter clothing, blankets and tools, to people desperately in need,” said WFP Executive Director James Morris.

“The EC contribution is helping to ensure that all windows of opportunity will be used to distribute aid in the weeks to come,” he added.

To date, WFP has delivered 8,600 metric tons of food, 2,125 metric tons of non-food items, such as tents and tools, 76 mobile warehouses and about 17,000 passengers.

Air operations vital

Since the earthquake hit on 8 October, killing over 73,000 people and leaving 2.5 million people homeless, air operations have played a vital role in reaching those people in remote locations.

Moreover, the worse conditions become on the ground, the more heavily relief transport relies on helicopters.

WFP is currently reaching over one million of the most vulnerable victims with food assistance. Among them, 400,000 are living in tents above an altitude of 1,500 meters and are in scattered and remote areas difficult to reach by roads blocked by landslides.

Logistical challenge

To meet the logistical challenge, WFP is conducting the biggest helicopter operation in its history.

In total, a fleet comprised of 14 MI -8, two MI-26 and two KA30 helicopters has been deployed. The operation received additional help from US Chinook and NATO CH53 helicopters.

This new donation from the EC is an invaluable lifeline to help reach the affected population throughout the winter months

John Aylieff, Director of WFP’s European Commission Relations division

Since early January, bad weather, rain and heavy snowfall, with temperatures dropping between minus six and minus 16 Celsius, have disrupted operations of all relief transport. Landslides have made roads impassable and helicopters were grounded for days.

High Energy Biscuits were distributed to those who could not cook because their tents were wet from the rain and snow.

Invaluable lifeline

“This new donation from the EC is an invaluable lifeline to help reach the affected population throughout the winter months,” stressed John Aylieff, Director of WFP’s European Commission Relations division.

“The collaboration between the European Commission Humanitarian Aid department and WFP in Pakistan is yet another good example of our strong global partnership for a fast and effective humanitarian response,” added Aylieff.

This new contribution, in conjunction with other donors, will help the organization to keep the current fleet of helicopters running until mid-March.