WFP rushes emergency food to cyclone-battered coastal Bangladesh

Published on 16 November 2007

The United Nations World Food Programme has begun distributing high-energy biscuits to devastated villages and shelters in the southern coastal regions of Bangladesh hit last night by Cyclone Sidr.

The United Nations World Food Programme has begun distributing high-energy biscuits to devastated villages and shelters in the southern coastal regions of Bangladesh hit last night by Cyclone Sidr.

With thousands of people in emergency shelters urgently in need of food, the initial tranche of 98 metric tons of biscuits – vital in the early days of an emergency when people are

WFP’s first priority is to save lives
WFP Bangladesh Representative Douglas Broderick

unable to prepare cooked meals – from the WFP Emergency Hub in Bangladesh will feed 400,000 people over the next three days.

“We have to move as quickly as possible to get food to the most vulnerable,” said WFP Bangladesh Representative Douglas Broderick.

Saving lifes

“WFP’s first priority is to save lives. Getting dry food like High Energy Biscuits (HEB) to the hungry is especially critical when there is a scarcity of clean water for drinking and cooking.”

Cyclone Sidr passed across southern Bangladesh on the night of 15 November, damaging thousands of homes and causing hundreds of fatalities according to preliminary field reports. Hundreds of thousands of residents had evacuated homes and villages prior to the Cyclone’s arrival on land.

Biscuits pre-positioned

WFP’s immediate food distribution to the affected coastal districts is the initial phase of a planned response to the cyclone. Within hours of the disaster, WFP had begun supplying pre-positioned high-energy biscuits to affected people in areas that suffered the greatest loss and damage from the cyclone.

WFP food assistance is being distributed by UN staff, Government of Bangladesh officials, NGO and community representatives.

“There are thousands of cyclone-affected vulnerable people including women and children with limited access to food. We will waste no time in reaching them,” said Broderick.

As part of WFP’s ongoing operations in Bangladesh to assist some 5 million people affected by chronic food insecurity and malnutrition, it has extensive operations in all the potentially affected areas, including offices located in Jessore and Cox’s Bazaar, ensuring a quick response to disasters and humanitarian crises.