about the author
Regional Public Information Officer
Public Information Officer for WFP Asia, based in Bangok, after having spent two years with WFP in Afghanistan and four years in Rome working in communications and fundraising.
Four weeks after Typhoon Haiyan ripped through the Visayas region of the Philippines, shattering lives and livelihoods, WFP is providing food assistance and supporting the relief effort in other ways. But what exactly has WFP achieved, and what lies ahead on the road to recovery? Donate Now
1. Get food out – fast
WFP has reached nearly 3 million people with rice and high-energy biscuits [read story]. Distributions are continuing, because many people who have lost everything still urgently need food as they try to rebuild their lives. It has not been easy, but WFP has used all means, including aircraft, boats and trucks to get the food out. Reaching remote island communities has been especially challenging.
2. Move things along
WFP has not been alone in facing the challenges of getting relief items to those in need. As the head of the Logistics Cluster, WFP has been organizing common logistics services for the entire humanitarian community [view gallery]. This included chartering cargo ferries to bring aid in, erecting storage tents as warehouse facilities, securing fuel supplies and setting up the UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) to get aid workers and equipment to the affected areas.
3. Understand the needs
WFP led an assessment (a Multiple Sector Initial Rapid Assessment or MIRA) to analyze the situation immediately after the typhoon, to understand better how people had been affected by the storm and what sort of help they need. The report, which found that the most urgent needs are food, shelter and livelihoods, has been crucial for planning the response.
1. Keep food moving
Debris is being cleared, some people have been able to return to their homes, and in some places markets are reopening – but things are still a long way from normal, and many people still urgently need food assistance. WFP will continue to support the government’s relief efforts, with a plan to gradually transition to other forms of assistance as appropriate.
2. Look after children and mothers
The destruction of the typhoon is highly visible – but malnutrition is a “silent” threat to people who no longer have regular access to food, safe water or healthcare facilities. Young children and their mothers are the most at risk from this, which is why WFP is working with partners to screen the population for malnutrition indicators, and to provide specialized nutritious food for all children.
3. Provide cash support
As local markets reemerge and stabilize, food distributions will give way to or be combined with cash-based interventions. This gives people the choice to purchase their preferred food and other basic necessities. WFP wants its assistance not just to help the direct beneficiaries, but to stimulate the local economy as well.