WFP airlifts life-saving relief to people affected by Papua New Guinea Earthquake

Published on 02 April 2018

DUBAI – The World Food Programme (WFP) today airlifted life-saving, nutrient-dense biscuits from its UN Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD) in Dubai to Papua New Guinea. With a cargo of more than 80 metric tons of the nutritious high energy biscuits, the plane carried enough food to feed approximately 60,000 earthquake-affected people.

​More than 270,000 people continue to require humanitarian assistance following the devastating 7.5 magnitude earthquake which struck the country in February, and this airlift is part of WFP’s emergency response in the country. The earthquake was followed by a series of severe aftershocks throughout March, causing widespread panic among communities.

The plane departed from Dubai early Monday morning and the biscuits will reach people within days. The plane used for the airlift was provided by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

“We are grateful for Sheikh Mohammed’s generosity in rapidly providing this plane. His support is crucial to deliver humanitarian assistance to those most affected by this natural disaster,” said Stefano Peveri, Head of UNHRD in Dubai.

“More than 60 percent of UNHRD transports originate from Dubai. This makes Dubai WFP’s largest humanitarian hub in the world, thanks to the excellent logistical facilities and ongoing Government support,” he added.

Papua New Guinea already faced severe food insecurity and alarming malnutrition levels before the earthquake. Approximately 37 percent of the population, or 60,000 people, were severely food insecure before the earthquake, according to WFP’s remote assessments using mobile technology. The earthquake and its aftershocks have further impacted people in the most vulnerable areas of the country, destroying root crops and vegetable gardens; the primary food sources in the affected area.

The airlift is facilitated by the International Humanitarian City (IHC), chaired by Her Royal Highness Princess Haya bint Al Hussein, which hosts WFP’s warehousing facilities in Dubai. The Princess is a long-term supporter of WFP and currently serves as a United Nations Messenger of Peace.

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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.

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For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@wfp.org):

Silke Buhr, WFP/Bangkok, Tel. +66 81 701 9208

Colin Kampschoer, WFP/Dubai, Tel. +97254724971