First emergency food arrives for Indonesia earthquake victims

Published on 28 May 2006

WFP begins distributing emergency food rations to survivors of the devastating earthquake in Indonesia, just 36 hours after the earthquake struck.

WFP began distributing emergency food rations on Sunday to survivors of the devastating earthquake in Indonesia, just 36 hours after the earthquake struck.

Around midday (local time) three trucks carrying 30 tons of high-energy biscuits from WFP arrived in Bantul and Klaten, two of the districts worst-hit by yesterday's devastating earthquake.

The biscuits are fortified with essential vitamins and minerals and are sufficient to feed about 20,000 people for 7 days.

More supplies

As soon as word of the earthquake spread, WFP and its partners were mobilizing to provide rapid assistance to the survivors

James Morris, WFP Executive Director

Five more trucks carrying fortified noodles left Jakarta today and are expected to arrive in the affected area tomorrow morning.

More supplies are scheduled to be delivered on a daily basis.

WFP's long-standing corporate partner, TNT, has helped provide trucks to ensure that food arrives as quickly as possible.

Stocks have been drawn from food WFP already had in Jakarta, and the nearby town of Solo. A shortage of storage facilities in the affected areas has also prompted WFP to send mobile warehouses previously used for its tsunami operations.

Emergency assessment

Earlier in the day, a WFP-chartered plane arrived in Solo -- approximately three hours by road from the worst-affected areas -- carrying an emergency medical team from Aceh and 2 tons of medicine.

Later tonight a joint UN emergency assessment team, led by WFP, is expected to reach Bantul to begin surveying the damage and assist the Indonesian government's relief efforts.

The team includes the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs(OCHA), UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), UN Development Programme (UNDP), UNFPA and the World Health Organization (WHO) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Terrible tragedy

AFP PHOTO/ Adek BERRY

Villagers cry for their beloved ones in Bantul, Yogyakarrta

"This is a terrible tragedy for so many people, in a country which has already suffered so much," said James Morris, WFP's Executive Director.

"As soon as word of the earthquake spread, WFP and its partners were mobilizing to provide rapid assistance to the survivors, drawing from stocks of food we already had nearby, and from the aircraft that was serving areas hit by last year's tsunami," he added.

Ready and prepared

"As with the response to the tsunami disaster, the World Food Programme is ready and prepared to stand by the Government of Indonesia in responding to this latest natural tragedy. Our emergency provisions of food and fortified noodles and biscuits will help those persons who are homeless and will provide them with immediate assistance," said Anthony Banbury, WFP's Regional Director for Asia.

The earthquake, measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale, hit the Indonesian island of Java just before dawn on Saturday, 27 May. Current estimates put the number of dead at more than 3,000 people, and at least 200,000 people are estimated to be homeless.