WFP is initially deploying four experts to support needs assessments, warehouse management and the swift delivery of relief supplies to the most-affected people. These activities will be implemented in close coordination with the Japan Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (JVOAD), a coordinating body supporting relief work by authorities, NGOs and the private sector.
In addition, WFP is providing large mobile warehouses, including two (24 x 10 metres) to be set up immediately in the severely-affected towns of Ozu and Kashima, to store relief items and as a volunteer centre. WFP – which always works on the basis of requests for assistance received from governments – launched the operation when the request came from the Kumamoto prefectural government on 26 April, and stands ready to expand its support if required. The cost of the two-month operation is estimated at US$600,000.
“Logistics is the backbone of any emergency response,” said Stephen Anderson, Director of the WFP Japan Office. “We are proud to do our part to help the affected people by deploying logistics expertise.”
Since 14 April, the two major earthquakes and hundreds of aftershocks struck the prefectures of Kumamoto, Oita and surrounding areas, resulting in 66 deaths and more than 190,000 evacuees at its peak, according to official figures. While local authorities are putting significant effort into the response, logistical challenges in the management of relief supplies that are pouring in have been reported.
This is the second time that WFP has provided assistance in Japan. In 2011, following the devastating earthquake and massive tsunami that hit the northern region of Tohoku, WFP deployed 27 staff members to organise transportation of relief items, establish logistics hubs with mobile warehouses and support relief activities of NGOs on the ground.
WFP is mandated to lead logistics operations by UN agencies and NGOs whenever a humanitarian emergency strikes, in order to deliver food and other relief items in the most challenging environments. On any given day, WFP operates 70 aircrafts, 20 ships, and 5,000 trucks around the world.
Japan is one of WFP’s most generous donors, contributing US$197 million globally in 2015 to operations in 37 countries.
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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.
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