Emergency Operations (EMOPs)

When there is an emergency, WFP quickly establishes how much food assistance is needed and the best way to deliver it to the hungry. To do this we work with UN Emergency Assessment Teams. On the basis of the assessment, we draw up a detailed plan of action and budget.

To cover immediate needs, the WFP Country Director in the country affected can borrow up to US$500,000 from WFP's Immediate Response Account (IRA). The use of the IRA funds is usually limited to the initial three months of an operation.

However, many disaster-hit communities need help for longer than three months in order to get back on their feet. In this case, the Country Director draws up an Emergency Operation or EMOP before making an appeal to the international community for funds and food aid.

EMOPs can assist populations in need by either food distributions or other projects such as food aid in exchange for reconstruction work. They are funded primarily by targeted donor contributions in response to the WFP appeal.

EMOPs usually last for between three and 12 months. If further assistance is required, WFP prepares a Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation.

Types of crisis

WFP's emergency operations cover three main kinds of crises:

  • Sudden disasters: natural disasters which affect food access and/or cause population displacements, and which require special UN coordination procedures.
  • Slow-onset disasters: these are usually droughts and crop failures.
  • Complex emergencies: these can involve conflict, widespread social and economic disruption and large population displacements and usually involve UN coordination.