South Asia earthquake - operational update

Update on WFP's operations in the earthquake-affected areas of Pakistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir, including background information, coordination with the Pakistan government, implementation overview, logistics, UN Humanitarian Air Service update, constraints and priorities.

Background information and WFP's response

On Saturday 8 October 2005, an earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale struck the mountainous area of South Asia.

Up to 73,000 people have been confirmed dead and nearly 2.5 million people have lost their houses.

2.3 million in need

A WFP-led Inter-Agency Joint Rapid Food and Nutrition Assessment was carried out and findings indicate that the number of people who need food assistance is around 2.3 million.

WFP's emergency operation is striving to meet the food needs of one million people, through regular rations.

A further 1.3 million people will receive food aid from non-WFP resources, including the Pakistan Government, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Coordination with the Government of Pakistan

WFP and Pakistan authorities are continuing to work closely within this emergency.

After re-assessing the situation, WFP and Pakistan authorities agreed on a clear geographical division of responsibilities for the affected areas.

WFP's focus

WFP will focus on difficult to reach areas and food distribution in camps, tented schools, hospitals and supplementary feeding for children under five and pregnant and lactating women.

This new plan has been implemented as of 1 December.

Overview of implementation

Food distribution by different actors is now taking place through six interventions:

  • emergency school feeding
  • hospital feeding
  • camp feeding
  • supplementary feeding
  • host family feeding
  • general food distributions in the crisis area

WFP is providing dry rations, consisting of wheat, pulses and oil to the affected population, as well as ready-to-eat rations.

WFP is extending its food distributions to the difficult to reach and remote areas that had been cut off by road due to landslides.

Helicopter deliveries

At the same time, WFP is speeding up helicopter deliveries to the locations that are still cut off, and to those beyond 5,000 feet above sea level, which will soon no longer be accessible due to snow.

Food is being prepositioned, to cover the needs of the populations, for a period that ranges from 45 to 60 days.

WFP is operating out of the following offices in the affected area: Muzaffarabad, Batagram, Garhi Habibulla/Balakot, and Bagh; the two logistics hubs are in Abbottabad and Chattarplan.

Close cooperation

WFP is working closely with both international and national NGOs on the ground. Currently, WFP has Field Level Agreements with 15 NGOs, which cover 75 percent of the one million beneficiaries that receive food from WFP.

Since the onset of the emergency, WFP has dispatched more than 25,000 metric tons of food aid. It provided food to an estimated one million beneficiaries in November, and as of 16 December has provided food to around 380,000 people so far in December.

Locally and in the region, WFP has so far procured 12,530 metric tons of food.

Executive Director visit

James Morris, Executive Director of WFP, visited the affected areas of Pakistan during 3-4 December.

Morris visited the Muzaffarabad Area Office and also observed Emergency School Feeding and General Food Distribution activities in the Jhelum and Neelum valleys respectively.


The transport commercial sector is now fully active in most of our hubs for secondary deliveries. Adapted vehicles have been rented to access remote areas in rough terrain.

WFP has deployed some 46 mobile warehouse tents (about 23,000 metric ton capacity) to the affected areas under Interagency Support – an additional 22 tents are on their way.

WFP is now deploying more tents to forward bases inside the valleys. The interagency air hub in Chatterplan is expanding - Prefabs (offices) have been deployed for UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) and WFP Logistic, who manage the hub.

UN Humanitarian Air Service update

The Chinook sling-load operation during the last week of November, which operated out of Muzaffarabad, was highly successful.

Approximately 820 metric tons were uplifted thanks to combined efforts of UNHAS, UN Joint Logistics Centre (UNJLC), UK Department for International Development (DFID) and WFP staff on the ground.

Air operations

Since the start of air operations, UNHAS has airlifted 1,923.99 metric tons of food items, 792.11 metric tons of non-food items and 8,234 passengers.

In total, UNHAS has deployed the following helicopters: 2 MI-26 and 13 MI-8.

In addition, the airlift is assisted by several US Chinooks and four NATO CH-53 helicopters.


Weather conditions are changing and rains have already cut off most roads just in one night. Bad weather conditions like snow and fog have an impact on WFP’s helicopter operations.

Nevertheless WFP will ensure that all windows of opportunity will be used throughout the winter to reach those in need of humanitarian aid.

Funding situation

WFP overall funding situation regarding its operations (Emergency Operation and Special Operations) is improving, thanks to the donor community that is supporting WFP.

However, further support is required to ensure the delivery of food and non-food items. This is crucial to respond to the needs of the earthquake-affected populations.


  • Continue to preposition food by road using trucks, jeeps and helicopters in order to reach the people residing in difficult to reach areas that may be cut off by snow
  • Continue to feed the encamped persons that are residing in the tented villages
  • Continue providing food to schoolchildren who are attending tented schools, that have been established and are being supported by UNICEF and other organisations
  • Initiate supplementary feeding to children under the age of five