Despite huge logistics challenges, WFP has started distributing food to people affected by the powerful earthquake that hit Sumatra last week.
JAKARTA – In partnership with the Government of Indonesia and the private sector, WFP is working to deliver special fortified biscuits to children aged under five and pregnant and lactating women. These two groups, among the worst affected by the 7.6 Richter-scale earthquake, have been prioritized for the first shipment of biscuits which arrived two days ago in the affected areas surrounding Padang.
“It has taken an incredible effort by all parties to get these supplies to the people as vital roads and bridges were destroyed or rendered unusable by the quake,” said WFP Country Representative in Indonesia, Coco Ushiyama. “In emergencies like this, it is critical to ensure the nutritional status of people does not deteriorate.”
As access to remote areas continues to increase, so will WFP food distributions to the most vulnerable. The first consignment of fortified biscuits was distributed in the isolated sub-districts of Padang Alai and Kudu villages in V Koto Timur.
Responded to call
Private sector partners, such as the logistics company Agility, food and household goods giant, Unilever, and Bank International Indonesia, were the first to respond to WFP’s call for support. The food that was distributed in Padang was moved to Halim Perdanakusuma Airport with the help of Agility. The Australian Air Force also stepped up to help.
More food is planned to be delivered to Padang by air by TNT in the coming days. These commodities are, and will be, dispatched by road to the remote villages with the coordination and support of the government.
“It’s heartening that the private sector came forward so quickly to join us in our humanitarian response,” Ushiyama said. “We hope that other donors will follow this generous lead so that WFP can continue to support the Government’s relief effort at this critical time.”
WFP will also provide four large Manitou forklifts to help move rubble and clear roads and is erecting temporary warehousing in the affected area. WFP will continue working with the Government and other partners to ensure more communities are reached as quickly as possible.
Indonesia is one of the most natural disasters prone countries in the world. WFP has worked in close cooperation with the Government and others in the past to ensure the timely provision of humanitarian assistance, including in the aftermath of the Aceh tsunami in 2004, and Yogyakarta earthquake in 2006.