© WFP/Rafael Campos
For the World Food Programme (WFP), responding to emergencies – whatever their cause or location – is second nature.
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is disrupting the world as we knew it, with a heavy toll on human lives and economic activities. Its rapid global spread is threatening to affect millions of people already made vulnerable by food insecurity, malnutrition and the effects of conflict and other disasters.
To minimize the impact of the epidemic on the 138 million people it intends to serve this year, WFP is adapting its planning to ensure they will continue receiving the assistance they need.
COVID-19 has caused global disruptions to the transport systems and links that health and humanitarian responders would normally rely upon to reach affected areas in a crisis. WFP, with long-standing experience and vast expertise in emergency response and logistics and supply chain, is working closely with the World Health Organization, the UN system, the NGO community and governments, is using its logistics capacity and expertise to step in and provide these services where commercial capacity currently doesn’t exist, ensuring critical health and humanitarian cargo and personnel can move to where they’re needed most.
WFP is also putting its expertise in the areas of data collection and analysis, policy and advocacy support, and service provision at the service of governments’ strategies to address the medium-term consequences of the pandemic.
This includes working with governments to: strengthen and expand social protection programmes to address poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition; sustain food production, trade, distribution and consumption; support national health systems through improved supply chains, data collection and targeted nutrition services for the most vulnerable; and provide alternatives to school feeding where educational activities have been suspended in the wake of the pandemic.