WFP PROVIDES FOOD FOR 750,000 PEOPLE IN SRI LANKA
COLOMBO - During the visit to Sri Lanka of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, the World Food Programme (WFP) announced today that it had hit its target of dispatching enough food in Sri Lanka to help feed 750,000 people affected by the tsunami crisis.
The food, which has been moving night and day on the backs of 10 and 15-ton trucks since Dec. 28, will last families 15 days.
More than 800,000 people were originally displaced by the tsunami in Sri Lanka and the majority will need food assistance for the next six months. Many are moving out of the temporary camps now and into the homes of family and friends.
WFP is dispatching rice, dhal (lentils) and sugar to 12 district warehouses in the most affected areas. The food is then distributed by government and NGO humanitarian partners to camps for the displaced and those living in the community.
"Our first order of business was to get enough food dispatched around the country to feed 750,000 people," said Jeff Taft-Dick, Country Director for WFP in Sri Lanka. "We have hit that target today, which is critical because there is now enough food around Sri Lanka to feed everyone who needs it."
Taft-Dick cautioned, however, that the massive humanitarian effort is "only just beginning".
WFP is gearing up to continue providing enough food for 750,000 people in the months to come. Meeting that target will require diverting food ships to Sri Lanka, buying locally produced commodities, bringing in extra trucking capacity, increasing staffing at ports, warehouses and field offices, and working closely with government and humanitarian partners on the ground to ensure that food is getting to those most in need.
WFP has been dispatching approximately 30 trucks a day filled with bags of rice, sugar and dhal throughout the crisis. The food stocks were already in the country and intended for WFP's work in the northern and eastern parts of Sri Lanka, but were immediately re-programmed for the emergency after the disaster. WFP dispatched its first truck on Dec. 28 - two days after the tsunami hit.
NOTE TO EDITORS: Video footage of the arrival of the Malaysian military plane will be available.
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