Statement by WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran on humanitarian response to Haiti quake

Published on 18 January 2010

AFP PHOTO/Juan Barreto

In the week since the earthquake struck Haiti, more than 250,000 ready-to-eat food rations have been distributed by the United Nations World Food Programme and the U.S. military. WFP is streaming humanitarian assistance into Haiti, opening up air, sea and land corridors, and rehabilitating emergency telecommunications systems for the entire humanitarian community

It is vital that the response from the global humanitarian community matches the immense needs of the people of Haiti.  Within the next week, WFP aims to move the equivalent of 10 million ready-to-eat meals so that people whose homes have been destroyed, and who have no access to cooking facilities can feed their families.

 

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To achieve this, WFP is establishing 4 humanitarian hubs to deliver food assistance in Port au Prince, and at least 30 others at locations across Haiti.

 

With immediate food needs so great, WFP is issuing a global appeal to military leaders across the world to donate 100 million ready to eat meals so that we can sustain this lifeline of food to the hungry in the first phase of the emergency.  As WFP’s operation develops, we aim to transition to general food distributions of items such as rice, vegetable oil, dried beans and lentils.

WFP has already received pledges to provide 16 million ready-to-eat meals and is in the process of procuring 4.2 million rations of supplementary ready to use foods specifically designed to deliver daily calorific and nutritional requirements of children.

To support this massive operation, WFP is utilising five humanitarian corridors into Haiti.  Food assistance and relief supplies will move by road from the neighbouring Dominican Republic, by air into the main airport at Port au Prince, and another airstrip at Barahonas, through the main port in the Haitian capital, and into another seaport at Cap Haitien.

An agreement on guaranteed landing slots for aircraft carrying humanitarian assistance means that the flow of aid to the people of Haiti will increase dramatically in the coming days.

Much has been achieved in the short space of time since this crisis began, but this will be a long and complex humanitarian operation.  WFP is appealing for US$279 million to support its relief operation in Haiti and is asking governments across the world to assist by helping to rehabilitate Haiti’s ports, repair the road infrastructure, provide security for humanitarian workers, and donate trucks.

So far, more than US$60 million has been received in donations from governments.  Around US$ 6 million has been donated by the private sector, and more than US$2.5 million has been donated through unprecedented on-line giving.