UN World Food Programme

WFP continues to reach the worst-affected parts of Myanmar

Weather forecasts for the Ayeyarwady delta continue to predict heavy rain over the next few days. However, WFP continues to reach the worst-affected parts of Myanmar, in particular, Yangon and the Ayeyarwady delta which were hit hard by Cyclone Nargis on 2 and 3 May 2008.

Weather forecasts for the Ayeyarwady delta continue to predict heavy rain over the next few days.

However, WFP continues to reach the worst-affected parts of Myanmar, in particular, Yangon and the Ayeyarwady delta which were hit hard by Cyclone Nargis on 2 and 3 May 2008.

Food distributions

As of today, WFP has dispatched enough food to reach 74,000 people, including thousands of children, with a first ration of either high-energy biscuits (HEBs) or rice.

It is difficult to estimate numbers of people reached by WFP as reports from remote areas are slow to arrive. Food rations are also being divided up between families so the number reached is almost certainly higher. Food has been distributed in eight townships in Yangon and five townships - Bogale, Labutta, Maubin, Ngaputaw, and Pathein in the Ayeyarwady delta.

On Monday, WFP distributed enough rice for a two-week ration to 5,400 people in 48 temporary shelters in Labutta. Other distributions continue at a number of locations throughout the affected areas.

Logistics and transportation

WFP is delivering supplies by road and is currently using up to 30 local trucks for delivery. A key limiting factor is that most bridges in the Ayeyarwady region are generally only able to bear a 5-ton truck and heavy vehicles will quickly render many roads impassable. WFP is working to procure a large fleet of small trucks, which will expedite the delivery of food and supplies.

WFP is also exploring the best method of delivering food assistance by boat, with the possibility of using a floating warehouse serviced by a flotilla of smaller boats ferrying in and out of parts of the delta which are inaccessible by land. Small boats will have to be brought in from the outside as reports indicate that as many as 90 percent of boats in the affected areas may have been destroyed by the cyclone.

There is a need for more helicopter support to reach people in more remote parts of the delta not accessible by boat or road. WFP preference would be to use helicopters, given muddy and moist conditions on the ground and the rain forecast for the coming days.

Yangon Airport remains the primary hub for assistance delivery although capacity is stretched to the limit with the current number of flights. Furthermore, offloading equipment is scarce or not suitable.

Staff

WFP is increasing its capacity for assistance by recruiting local staff in Yangon. This is to help meet the immediate needs of cyclone victims, and also to maintain its existing country operations.