WFP dispatches more than 700 tons of food

WFP has dispatched more than 700 tons of rice, high-energy biscuits and beans to Myanmar’s cyclone-affected areas since the natural disaster struck on 2 and 3 May 2008.

WFP has dispatched more than 700 tons of rice, high-energy biscuits and beans to Myanmar’s cyclone-affected areas since the disaster struck on 2 and 3 May 2008. The amount of food is sufficient to feed close to 100,000 people with a first ration – including 96,000 people who got biscuits.

On Wednesday, WFP dispatched 33 tons of high-energy biscuits (HEB) to the affected areas - enough for a daily ration for 82,500 people - and 110 tons of rice - enough to give nearly 16,000 people a two-week ration. This is by far the largest daily dispatch to date.

It is difficult to determine the exact number of people reached by WFP as reports from remote areas are slow to arrive. Furthermore, food rations are being divided up between families so the number reached is almost certainly higher.

Logistics

Two additional flights into Yangon are expected tonight. A UK (DFID) consignment of tarpaulin shelter material has arrived from Dubai and WFP has taken reception of it. A second Dubai flight is expected overnight carrying more vital materials for WFP's operation, including temporary warehousing, communications equipment and medical kits.

WFP is working to move a helicopter into the country to help reach those people who are cut off both by road and water following the cyclone. It is likely to be an MI8-T, which has a payload of 2.5 tons. This would allow one flight to carry enough HEB to feed over 6,000 people with a first ration.

WFP is planning to bring in 15 tons of ready-to-eat meals, composed mainly of rice and beans, which were purchased in India and are enough to provide a day's supply of food to 7,000 people. These will be prioritized for the areas most acutely affected by the cyclone, where cooking is difficult or not possible.

Visas

WFP continues to have some success with visa applications by international staff, but more are needed if WFP is to scale up its operation to the levels known to be necessary.