WFP Haiti completes flood relief mission in Gonaives

Published on 03 November 2005

Port-au-Prince When the 1,588 women at the distribution points of Desronvilles and Acifa walk away with their bags of rice, beans and corn meal on 14 March, it will mark the end of WFP Haiti\'s large-scale emergency operation to feed the victims of the Gonaives floods.

PORT-AU-PRINCE - When the 1,588 women at the distribution points of Desronvilles and Acifa walk away with their bags of rice, beans and corn meal on 14 March, it will mark the end of WFP Haiti's large-scale emergency operation to feed the victims of the Gonaives floods.

Six months ago, when Tropical Storm Jeanne hit the northern coastal towns of Gonaïves and Port-de-Paix, leaving almost 3,000 people dead and close to 300,000 in need of assistance, WFP's response was immediate. Since then, 160,000 people - the vast majority of them women and children - have regularly received WFP food distributions to help them survive.

Recent assessments have shown no further reports of acute malnutrition and that the nutritional status in Gonaives now corresponds to the national average. At the same time, the harvest is due shortly, with fresh supplies of rice and vegetables coming on to the market.

"We are happy to say that the community has now recovered sufficiently from the floods for most people to be able to resume their lives without the need for further assistance from us," said WFP Haiti Country Director Guy Gauvreau. "However, we and our partners will continue to monitor the situation to identify the most vulnerable families who may still need assistance."

WFP Haiti used trucks, barges, even donkey and mules to reach people cut off by floods and landslides in isolated areas. A special airlift of high-energy biscuits was organised from the UN Humanitarian Depot in Brindisi, Italy.

WFP convoys have been constantly on the road since the onset of the crisis, covering more than 200,000 km.

In close cooperation with CARE, WFP's implementing partner in Gonaives, some 6,200 metric tons of food were distributed - often under extremely difficult conditions. This was made possible through the efforts of dedicated staff who worked around the clock, as well as WFP Haiti's logistical capacity, which overcame huge obstacles to get the food were it was needed most.

WFP also worked closely with the Haitian authorities and the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), which provided escorts and protected the distribution points, at a time when lack of security posed a considerable threat to humanitarian operations. It would not have been possible to operate without this support for which WFP is very grateful.

But it was first and foremost thanks to the prompt response and generosity of the donors that WFP was able to react immediately after the devastating floods and landslides hit Haiti.

"These contributions allowed us to immediately reach out and help the victims of the Gonaives floods. They were crucial to our ability to respond to this emergency within hours and thereby provide the victims with lifesaving food. We would like to express our deep gratitude," said Gauvreau.

A total of US$13.8 million has been donated by the governments of Canada (US$752,088), Denmark (US$68,747), France (US$1,234,467), Germany (US$781,718), Iceland (US$28,037), Japan (US$3,187,839), Luxembourg (US$63,404), Netherlands (US$429,600), Poland (US$93,458), Spain (US$975,655), Sweden (US$618,730), Switzerland (US$1,248,612) and the USA (US$3,678,884) to cover WFP emergency operations in Haiti.

WFP will continue to assist more than 500,000 people in Haiti - the poorest country in the western hemisphere - with targeted distributions to malnourished children, pregnant and nursing mothers, and people affected by HIV/AIDS. WFP also provides food to primary school children under its school feeding programme.

WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency; each year, WFP provides food aid to an average of 90 million people, including 56 million hungry children, in more than 80 countries.

WFP Global School Feeding Campaign - For just 19 US cents a day, you can help WFP give children in poor countries a healthy meal at school - a gift of hope for a brighter future.

Visit our website : www.wfp.org

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

Guy Gauvreau
Country Director

WFP/ Haiti

Tel +509 510 39 46

Mob +509 554 46 30

Anne Poulsen
WFP/Haiti

Mob +509 550 86 94

Alejandro Chicheri
WFP/Panama

Tel +507-317 3934

Mob +507-675 0617

Brenda Barton
Deputy Director Communications

WFP/Rome

Tel. +39-06-65132602

Mob. +39-3472582217

Christiane Berthiaume
WFP/Geneva

Tel. +41-22-9178564

Mob. +41-792857304

Trevor Rowe
WFP/New York

Tel. +1-212-9635196

Mob. +1-6468241112

rowe@un.org

Jennifer Parmelee
WFP/Washington

Tel +1-202-6530010

Gregory Barrow
WFP/London

Tel. +44-20-75929292

Mob. +44-7968-008474

Bettina Luescher
WFP/Berlin

Tel +49-30-20614912

Mob +49-170-9039479