Victims of a conflict or natural disaster can lose everything they own in minutes. Some are struck by repeated crises, with each one pushing them deeper into hunger and poverty.
Being prepared for such emergencies is a top priority for WFP.
This means knowing the facts and figures to take the best decisions, and having the plans in place to move staff and supplies quickly. It also means using our resources wisely because, especially at the outset of a crisis, they are often limited.
Early warning systems
A warning flag is the best defence against disaster. WFP has one of the most comprehensive Early Warning Systems, collecting and analyzing information on natural and man made hazards.
Our Emergency Preparedness teams have forged partnerships with the world’s leading academic institutions and technology experts to develop innovative ways - like data mining - to make sure WFP is picking up all the signals.
Rapid impact analysis
WFP aims to feed more than 90 million people every year. In the future, more people may need help as we respond and help communities adapt to unpredictable weather patterns brought by climate change.
Again, technology can help us. When a disaster strikes, our scientific partners help us produce a Rapid Impact Analysis. They use satellite imagery to show us the situation on the ground, and computerised modelling to predict how it may change.
WFP’s mapping specialists then add information, like where most people live or where environmental damage makes flooding worse, to produce a clear multi-layered picture of the crisis.
Early planning, early action
If WFP can see that an emergency is looming, we can lessen its impact. Extra supplies can be ordered in advance and moved by trucks and ships, rather than by air. This saves time, money - and lives. But the world changes fast. New hazards, like pandemic influenza, are emerging. WFP needs to keep thinking ahead, to be prepared to help.