WFP mobilises food and trucks to respond to Java quake

WFP is urgently mobilising relief staff and supplies in order to provide urgent aid to thousands affected by Saturday's massive earthquake near Yogyakarta, Central Java.

WFP is urgently mobilising relief staff and supplies in order to provide urgent aid to thousands affected by Saturday's massive earthquake near Yogyakarta, Central Java.

WFP will lead a rapid emergency assessment team to the disaster area, together with partner agencies WHO, UNDP and Unicef.

With food supplies in the disaster area expected to run out in the next 48 hours, the Agency is already loading up eight trucks, ready to deliver at least 80 tons of fortified noodles and high energy biscuits on Saturday and Sunday to earthquake survivors.

WFP is drawing on food stocks stored in Jakarta, Surabaya and the town of Solo, which is a three hour drive from badly-affected Bantul, the main disaster centre (see sidebox). Solo was also hit by the earthquake.

Thousands of survivors, whose homes were destroyed in the 6.2 Richter Scale quake, are sheltering in the 10 IDP camps established in Bantul district or staying outside due to the risk of aftershocks.

Urgent Priorities

The UN Disaster Management Team has listed tents, tarpaulin and plastic sheeting as urgent priorities, together with food aid and medical supplies.

WFP is diverting a 30-seat STOL aircraft from its operation in Aceh due to depart early Sunday morning for the crisis area, flying in 16 medical staff and 2000 kilos of medicines.

In addition to food, the humanitarian response's immediate priority list includes medical supplies, field hospitals, clean water, shelter, tents and plastic sheets.

Emergency assessment

On Sunday, WFP is leading a rapid emergency assessment team to the disaster area, together with partner agencies WHO, UNDP and Unicef.

The team, which will carry medical and food supplies diverted from existing aid programmes, will be forced to travel some eight hours/500 kilometres by road -- unless the badly cracked runway at Jogyakarta airport opens in time.

In addition, WFP has sent a three-member team from Surabaya (the eastern end of Java) to establish potential relief food needs; they are due to arrive in Jogyakarta on Saturday evening.

The roads leading to the affected area are reportedly passable, but their condition will also need to be rapidly assessed.

TNT

WFP efforts to urgently mobilise additional trucks in Jakarta have been successful due to assistance from TNT - a global provider of express, mail and logistics services and a long-standing humanitarian partner of WFP, which provided similar assistance immediately after the Indian Ocean tsunami.