Country Director and WFP Representative Praveen Agrawal, who returned today to Manila from the affected areas, said: “The main challenges right now are related to logistics. Roads are blocked, airports are destroyed. As the UN agency leading the humanitarian community’s Logistics Cluster, WFP is working with the government to set up operational hubs and organize airlifts of essential supplies.”
According to initial estimates, the storm has affected 4.5 million people, with at least 478,000 people are displaced and 10,000 feared dead. These numbers are likely to increase in the coming days as assessments continue.
WFP is setting up logistics pipelines to transport food and other relief items.
• WFP is currently working to fly food, logistics and communications equipment to Cebu airport, which will become a key hub, for subsequent airlift through Government partners to Tacloban.
• 44 metric tons of High Energy Biscuits (HEBs) are due to arrive in-country today and tomorrow from the UN Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD) in Dubai.
• Logistics equipment including mobile storage units, pre-fabricated offices and generators, is being sent from the UN Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD) in Malaysia in order to set up operational hubs at Tacloban and Cebu airports.
• Some 300kg of IT equipment including digital radios are being sent from the UN Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD) in Dubai.
• WFP has mobilized an immediate US$2 million to buy high-energy biscuits and rice, but will be appealing for more funds as the needs become clearer.
These efforts are taking place against a backdrop of other situations already requiring food assistance in the Philippines:
• Since early November, WFP has been providing rice and fortified biscuits to about 173,000 people affected by the Bohol earthquake.
• For the people displaced by fighting in Zamboanga, WFP was assisting about 50,000 people in the early stages of the emergency in September, and is still providing food to some 18,000 people.
• WFP’s regular operations in the Philippines, separate from the Bohol and Zamboanga operations, aim to reach 1.2 million people with food assistance this year.
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